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Poets of John Company
selected and arranged
THEODORE DOUGLAS DUNN
Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt
THACKER. SPINK & CO
CALCUTTA AND SIMLA
W. THACKER & CO., 2. Creed Lane, E.C
THACKER, SPINK AND CO.,
RIPE SCHOLAR AND GENIAL HUMANIST
THESE UNAVAILING PAGES
SIR WILLIAM JONES.
A Persian Song
A Hymn to Narayena
The Letters of Simpkin
The Art of Living in India . .
Ode to an Indian Gold Coin . .
The Battle of Assaye
Address to My Malay Krees . .
Verses written at Sagur Island
Calcutta : a Poem . .
The Adventures of Qui Hi . .
A Letter from Shigram-Po . .
Lines to Mrs. Heber
An Evening Walk in Bengal . .
On the Abolition of Sattee . .
SIR CHARLES D'OYLEY.
Tom Raw the Griffin
Ode to a Punkah . . . . . . . . 41
JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM.
Starboard Watch, Ahoy! .. .. ..43
SIR JOHN MALCOLM.
Lines Written on the Death of Leyden . . . . 44
Song on the Battle of Assaye . . . . 45
A Scene in the Doab . . . . . . 47
WILLIAM FRANCIS THOMPSON.
Indian Revelry . . . . . . . . 49
The Jogi's Address to the Ganges . . . . 51
The Rajpoot's Lament . . . . . . 53
The Mosquito's Song . . . . . . 56
The Pindaree . . . . • • . . 59
HORACE HAYMAN WILSON.
The Ganges . . . . • • . . 61
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
The Late Mr. Simms , . . . . . 66
Calcutta Stanzas for May . . . . . . 69
The Adjutant Bird . . . . . . 71
The Mussulman's Lament . . • . . . 75
The Return from India . . . . . . 7(>
DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON.
Lines on David Hare . . . . . . 78
To Laha Pennoo . . . . . • . . 79
To Bera Pennoo . . . . • . . . 81
The Final Toast . . . . . . . . 82
The Adjutant and the Crow . . .,-. ..84
The Bumper of Claret . . . . • • 86
A Ballad . . . . • • . . 87
JOHN WILLIAM KAYE.
Lines on Recovering from Sickness
WILLIAM HENRY ABBOTT.
The Chee-Chee Ball
R. T. H. GRIFFITH.
The Suppliant Dove . .,
The Rains . . . .,
HENRY GEORGE KEENE.
Clive's Dream before Plassey
Drinking no Sin . . . .,
The Song of Kalindi
The Song of the Koil
SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL.
The Land of Regrets
The Old Pindaree . .
A Lay of Lachen . .
THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD.
The Successful Competitor — 1863
Tw^enty O'CIock . .
Promotion by Merit
On a Station in Lower Bengal
The Successful Competitor — 1873
Three Hunting Songs
A Note on " Starboard Watch, Ahoy !"
THE original plan of this book provided for a collection
of verse written in India by Englishmen from the earliest days
of the British occupation up to our own time; and such a
collection was actually made. To all who expressed their
willingness to allow specimens of their work to appear, I
would take this opportunity of expressing my grateful thanks.
Two main difficulties — the trouble and expense of copyright,
and the impossibility of producing a large work at a reason-
able rate under post-war conditions of publication — have
compelled the limitation of the scope of this anthology.
The poems here reproduced illustrate Anglo-Indian life
(old style) from the close of the eighteenth century up to and
including the period of the Mutiny: but sharp chronological
limits have not been observed. The Leviora would fall
beyond this period; but in spirit and in form this famous
production is so reminiscent of the age of John Company that
it makes an adequate conclusion to all the preceding verse.
Unfortunately the law of copyright forbids the reproduction
of any of Sir Edwin Arnold's work ; but an attempt has been
made in the introduction to recognize the range and quality
of his poetry of oriental life.
For permission to include the three poems of Sir Alfred
Lyall I am indebted to Messrs. Routledge. Mr. Ernest
Bignold has been generous in permitting me to draw upon
the Leviora; and Messrs. Lahiri have kindly allowed me to
reprint Colman Macaulay's Lay of Lachen, which appeared
originally in Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow, a pamphlet
by Sarat Chandra Das. Lovers of the Himalaya will welcome
this reproduction of an oft-quoted but rarely pro-
curable poem. The omission of verse written by
Indians is due to the fact that the modern school
of poetry in India, heralded by the promise of
Toru Dutt's genius, lies wholly outwith the scheme of this
book. All the best of this poetry that belongs to the period
of John Company I have already reproduced in The Bengali
Book of English Verse published by Messrs. Longman.
In dealing with the periodical literature of the first half
of last century, Mr. S. C. Sanial, the Secretary of the Calcutta
Historical Society, has freely put his wide and accurate
knowledge at my disposal. Mr. J. A. Chapman of the Imperial
Library has given much assistance in looking out forgotten
volumes, and has helped with references to the catalogues
of libraries outside of Calcutta. Mr. W. I. Keir has generously
provided the anthology with its artistic cover; and Mr. C. F.
Hooper has taken the responsibility of publishing a book that,
from a commercial point of view, may not be considered much
of a venture. To his enthusiasm for the literature produced
in India by our countrymen, the " Poets of John Company "
are indebted for their present resurrection.
T. 0.. D. D.
United Service Club,
Calcutta, November, 1921.
NO complete anthology of verse written by Englishmen in
India has ever been compiled; and the reason is not far to
seek. Those writers who have achieved distinction have won
for themselves a permanent place in the records of English,
literature. No history of our poetry will neglect the names
of Bishop Heber and of Sir Edwin Arnold. Those writers who
have failed to secure such recognition have been forgotten;
and their published works, no longer in circulation, have
become the hobby of the bibliophile and the collector.
Three attempts have been made to rescue from neglect our
English poets in India. Captain David Lester Richardson, who
was on the staff of Lord William Bentinck, added, as tan
appendix to his Selections from the British Poets, several
specimens of the poetry then produced in Bengal. This work
was published in 1840. By that time the amount
of this poetry was not inconsiderable ; and Richardson
contrived to bring together some eighteen names-
including his own. The specimens of the verse select-
ed, if not of the highest order, are full of interest.
This is the first anthology of Anglo-Indian poetry; and for its
time it was the best. Richardson also compiled and edited The
Bengal Annual, a collection of prose and verse that appeared
on seven occasions ; and much of the poetry of these annuals he
included in his Selections from the British Poets. The work of
Thomas Philip Manuel, who in 1861 published in Calcutta
The Poetry of our Indian Poets, does not extend appreciably the
range of Richardson's collection. The poems of this book are
few in number and have been unskilfully chosen; but there are
brief introductory biographies of the authors, and these are useful
to the investigator. In 1868, Thomas Benson Laurence
published his English Poetry in India, being biographical and
critical notices of Anglo-Indian poets zvith copious extracts from
their zvritings. This work ranks with that of Manuel, and is of
equal value to the student. While these three publications show
a certain interest in the poetry written by Englishmen in India,
the date of their production makes them useless for the modern
reader. The work of Richardson is inaccessible; and, if the
anthologies of Manuel and Laurence were now available, they
have been so badly produced and so inadequately edited,
that for all save the lover of the curious, they are utterly
The reader who desires some acquaintance with the poetry
produced by Englishmen in India during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries has no conveniently single book
of reference. Unless he is prepared to spend hours of in-
vestigation in a few selected libraries, he will read none
but the best known authors. He will not discover the
<lelightful Letters of Simpkin the Second^ nor revel in the
Hudibrastic nonsense of Qui Hai. Tom Raw, the Griffin, will
be unknown to him ; and all that occasional writing, often
coarsely realistic, that belongs to an age when the trick
of pleasing expression in verse came as easy to the gentle-
men of England as the nimble handling of a rapier. He
may come across the gentle verse of Reginald Heber, and
learn something of the vigour of John Leyden ; but he will
not make the acquaintance of Henry Meredith Parker, whose
•delicate humour illumines historical and topical themes. He
will miss the scholarly work of David Lester Richardson, whose
varied career as soldier and teacher brought him into touch with
every phase of Anglo-Indian life in the first half of the nineteenth
century. Sir Alfred Lyall's verse may lie to his hand, along with
the Departmental Ditties. But, unless he has unusual good
fortune, he will not easily find the Leviora of Thomas
Francis Bignold, nor delight in that unexampled quatrain
that has immortalised Eastern Bengal. In short, he will be
deprived of a great amount of the pleasure to be found in the
occasional verse written in and about India throughout the
first three quarters of the nineteenth century.
It would be unreasonable to maintain that, apart from
authors of established reputation, there is any great
quantity of valuable poetical work in the English literature
of this period in India. Those writers who have fallen short
of permanent recognition have, let it be admitted at once,
deserved their fate. But, even if he miss the laurel wreath^
an author may merit re-perusal. The peculiar conditions
of their work, combined with its frequent historical interest,
have given other than a purely literary value to the verse of
several writers whose names this volume seeks to revive.
There are poems whose appeal is enhanced by the special
circumstances of their origin : of such is the amusing-
Ballad of Henry Torrens written in 1836; and, in
far different mood, the Lay of Lachen by Colman.
Macaulay. In these works the " note of univer-
sality " may not be sounded ; but their interest
remains undisputed. There is much verse of this kind ; but
English poetry in India was not at all times occupied with,
ephemeral themes. Whatever may be said finally upon the
value of the work produced by our exiled poets, their range
and enterprise have been considerable. The best of them
sought to interpret Eastern life and thought through the
medium of English poetry, and so to assimilate their know-
ledge and experience of India as to enrich the literary inheri-
tance of their countrymen. Less ambitious writers were
content to find occasional topics in the comedy of Anglo-
Indian life and in the varied scenery around them. Their
handling of such themes was made the surer by long resi-
dence in India; and, in virtue of this, their work has a
character and distinction of its own. Others, working-
through the medium of translation, have produced English
poems of original value ; and have contributed to that type
of literary work which is associated inevitably with the
masterpiece of Fitzgerald. Lastly, throughout much of
the verse of this volume, there is illustrated the spirit of the
literature of exile; and this, for an imperial and sea-faring
people, must ever possess a peculiar attraction. In India the
distinctive note of this literature was struck at the beginning
of the nineteenth century; and it has been re-echoed in
varying degrees of intensity, and in a great variety of moods,.
up to our own time.
To the eighteenth century we must look, if we would
understand the beginnings of English poetry in India. The
traditions of that great age will die hard in the East ; and it
would be strange if the period that includes the career of
Clive and Hastings had left no literary work of permanence.
Towards the close of the eighteenth century the history of
India had been given definite direction. England and France
had fought to a final conclusion their duel in the East ; and
the shadow of Napoleonic dominance had been dissipated
"by the lightning of Nelson's guns at the battle of the Nile.
In those triumphant days began the literary work of English-
men in India; and, as befitted the eighteenth century, there
Avas a high seriousness in this beginning. To Sir William
Jones the heaped treasures of Oriental learning made as
urgent an appeal as the hoarded wealth of the Moghul
Empire to the merchant-adventurers of the Company.
Apart from his work as a translator, he attempted to explain
and illustrate the Hindu mythology in a series of original
odes. His verse became a vehicle of scholarly instruction,
exemplifying the stately dignity that derives from Milton
and Gray. By the time of his death in the year 1794, he had
ennobled the activities of his countrymen in the East, and
liad revealed to Europe a whole fresh world of literary
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the romantic
movement in the literature of England had begun to influence
the small group of writers of whom Reginald Heber and John
Leyden were the chief. The first has much of the gentle spirit
of William Cowper ; and the second has the fire and vigour
that belong to the Scottish Border. Leyden was the friend of
the great Sir Walter who alluded to his death in The Lord of
Scarba's Isle, whose tortured shore
Still rings to Corrievreckan's roar.
And lonely Colonsay :
Scenes sung by him who sings no more,
His bright and brief career is o'er,
And mute his tuneful strains ;
Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore,
That loved the light of song to pour:
A distant and a deadly shore
Has Leyden's cold remains.
A third writer, Henry Derozio, whose birth and education
in Calcutta sealed his connection with the East, v^as an enthu-
siastic follower of Byron. The work of these authors falls
within the period preceding Macaulay's arrival in India. The
year 1835, the date of the latter' famous minute on
education which prompted Lord William Bentinck's
decision to introduce English in Indian schools and
colleges, may be said to close the first period of
English verse production in India. From this date
until the middle of the century, poetry began to serve a less
serious purpose than that exemplified in the work of Jones,
Heber and Leyden. As social life began to develop in the larger
cities, English verse became the medium of wit and satire. Of
this kind Henry Meredith Parker is indubitably the first and best
exponent. His contemporaries were John William Kaye, the
founder in 1844 of the Calcutta Review, Henry Whitelock
Torrens and David Lester Richardson.
Soon after the middle of the century the Mutiny-
revived the interest of England in India; and at this
time two authors received their inspiration from the East,
and surpassed all their predecessors in the quality and
variety of their work. These were Sir Edwin Arnold and
Sir Alfred Lyall. The first acted as Principal of the Dekhan
College in Poona from 1856 to 1861 ; and, in this brief period,
he developed a passion for India and its people that coloured all
his later writing. His shorter poems reveal a sympathetic insiglit
into Oriental character, and an unusual power of interpreta-
tion and description. In his more ambitious work he was
influenced by the same ideas and aspirations as Sir William
Jones, and paid as generous a tribute to the dignity and
beauty of Eastern classical poetry. His occasional verse,
lyrical, descriptive and narrative, is in its combined bulk
and value, finer than anything produced in India before or
after his time. In the work of Sir Edwin Arnold and of Sir
Alfred Lyall, the poetry of Englishmen in India reached its
maturity. The first applied the energy of true literary genius,
and the precision of scholarship to the interpretation of oriental
themes : the second allowed his intimate knowledge of India to
become concentrated in verse of small bulk but of unmistakable
quality. As a poet he is known by one tiny volume of less than
thirty pieces; but amongst these is the incomparable Siva.
To compile an anthology of Anglo-Indian verse written
during the last century and a half, and to publish it unexpurgated
and unexplained implies no slight temerity. The dilettante
whose travels have never drawn him east of Suez may say, as
he once said to Joachim Hay ward Stocqueler, the founder of
The Englishman, " We eat no rice and curry in Cornhill." He
will not believe that the art and spirit of poetry ever flourished
amongst the merchant-adventurers of John Company —
Men who prepared ambrosial Sangaree,
And double Sangaree or Sangarorum:
Now took a fleet, now sold a pound of tea.
Weighed soap, stormed forts, held princes in terrorem,
Drank, fought, smoked, lied, went home and, good papas,
Gave diamonds to their little boys for taws.
Nor is it possible to maintain that these men who builded greater
than they knew, have given us more than occasional and topical
verse. The writers amongst them founded no literary tradition,
and they established no school of poetry. Most of them were
the imitators of poets whom they had known in their youth ; but
they have preserved a few quaint pictures of English life in an
India that has passed away, and have shown an exuberant
vitality that it might be our pride to recall. Their attitude to
the East was simple and undisguised — it was a place of
uncongenial, if remunerative, exile.
If this fact should rufifle any Indian reader of these pages,
he will find consolation in the thought that Anglo-Indian poetry
rises into originality and greatness only when it is concerned
with purely Oriental themes. In his poem Siva, Sir Alfred LyalB
abandons ephemeral topics and faces one of the immemorial
problems of the world. He looks through and beyond the
sensuous imagery of the Hindu temple to the conception of
those terrible powers that hold man and rule his destiny. No
English verse produced in India has sounded a deeper note of
understanding than this ; and no other poem has so concen-
trated the mingled sensations of mystery and awe that haunt
the Western mind in contact with the tangible symbols of the
Hindu faith. In The Light of Asia there is unfolded a whole
panorama of Oriental life, idealised in the reflected glory of
the Lord Gautama and his teaching, but the first comprehen-
sive picture of Indian faith and custom ever given to the
Apart from its intrinsic literary or artistic merit, the verse
produced by Englishmen in India from the time of Warren
Hastings to the close of John Company's rule, contributed to an
understanding of the East of reality. About ten years after the
formation of the United East India Company, The Arabian
Nights, translated from the French of Antoine Galland, had
come for the first time into England. The influence of this work
was great and lasting; and it created a fantastic conception of
the Orient that is not yet wholly dead. The Rasselas of
Dr. Samuel Johnson, the History of the Caliph Vathek by James
Beckford, the Mejnoun and Leila of Isaac Disraeli and even
The Shaving of Shagpat by George Meredith, are all products
of the craze of Orientalism that smote the literature of eighteenth
century England. But this Orientalism had no root in the real
East. It was a thing of coflFee houses and drawing rooms. Its
inspiration, if the term is at all appropriate, was of a purely
literary kind, the product of quill pens and inkpots, divorced
from reality and with no breath of life. In 1760, Goldsmith
devoted the thirty-third letter of The Citizen of the World to a
satire upon " the fictions every day propagated here under the
titles of Eastern tales and oriental histories," And, had he lived
long enough, he would have been as ready to attack the mellifluous
Lalla Rookh of Thomas Moore, or the laborious Curse of Kehama
of Robert Southey. For this pseudo-oriental literature the
antidote lay in the realism of those novels of Eastern Life that
appeared between 1819 and 1839, novels written by men who
had lived for years in Syria, Persia and India. In the
Anastasius Thomas Hope described the Turk of the Levant. In
Hajji Baba of Ispahan James Justinian Morier depicted the
comedy of Moslem life in Persia. In Pandurang Hari William
Browne Hockley of the Bombay Civil Service produced the
memoirs of a Hindu prince. In the Kuzzilhash James Baillie
Fraser portrayed the wild life of the Afghan border; and, in
1839, Colonel Meadows Taylor compiled the Confessions of a
Thug, the greatest romance of the Indian road yet given to the
world. The method of these writers was to select a single
roguish character such as Fielding or Smollett might have drawn,
and to set him loose in the country of their own special know-
ledge. In this way the whole moving life of the Orient from
Asia Minor into Egypt and Arabia, and through Persia into
Hindustan was portrayed in detail for the West. In 1839 this
achievement was complete: and, in the literary movement to
which these picaresque romances belong, the poets of John
Company have an assured place.
This movement was in part a revolt from the fashionable
and artificial Orientalism of the eighteenth century, and in
part the result of the wars with France that made the Levant,
Persia and India the centres of a critical diplomacy. After
Waterloo, travel east of Asia Minor became popular ; and an
Orient other than that of Haroun-Al-Raschid was unveiled for
a curious Europe. Of the novelists who found their themes
in this new world, almost all save Morier are forgotten ; and
of the poets, Arnold was the last and best. But in the verse
of his predecessors, there is much that the citizens of an
India, greatly different from that of John Company, may be
willing to recall, if not to admire.
SIR WILLIAM JONES.
A Persian Song.
Sweet maid, if tliou would'st charm my sight.
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say :
Tell them, their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.
Speak not of fate: Ah! change the theme.
And talk of odours, talk of wine.
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom :
'Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream ;
To love an.d joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless power,
That even the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh'd for the blooming Hebrew boy ;
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy.
SIR WILLIAM JONES.
But ah ! sweet maid, my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage) :
While musick charms the ravish'd ear;
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer have I heard?
And yet, by heaven, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which nought but drops of honey sip?
Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease.
Like orient pearls at random strung:
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say;
But O ! far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.
A Hymn to Narayena.
Spirit of Spirits, who, through ev'ry part
Of space expanded and of endless time,
Beyond the stretch of lab'ring thought sublime,
Badst uproar into beauteous order start.
Before Heav'n was. Thou art :
Ere spheres beneath us roll'd or spheres above.
Ere earth in firmamental ether hung,
Thou satst alone ; till, through thy mystic Love,
Things unexisting to existence sprung.
And grateful descant sung.
SIR WILLIAM JONES. 3
What first impell'd thee to exert thy might?
Goodness unlimited. What glorious light
Thy pow'r directed? Wisdom without bound.
What prov'd it first? Oh! guide my fancy right,
Oh raise from cumbrous ground
My soul in rapture drown'd,
That fearless it may soar on wings of fire ;
For thou, who only knowst, Thou only canst inspire.
Wrapt in eternal solitary shade,
Th' impenetrable gloom of light intense,
Impervious, inaccessible, immense.
Ere spirits were infus'd or forms display'd,
BREHM his own Mind survey'd,
As mortal eyes (thus finite we compare
With infinite) in smoothest mirrors gaze :
Swift, at his look, a shape supremely fair
Leap'd into being with a boundless blaze.
That fifty suns might daze.
Primeval Maya was the Goddess nam'd.
Who to her sire, with Love divine inflam'd,
A casket gave with rich Ideas fill'd.
From which this gorgeous Universe he fram'd ;
For, when th' Almighty will'd.
Unnumbered worlds to build.
From Unity diversified he sprang,
While gay Creation laugh'd, and procreant Nature rang.
First an all-potent all-pervading sound
Bade flow the waters — and the waters flow'd,
Exulting in their ineasureless abode.
Diffusive, multitudinous, profound,
Above, beneath, around ;
Then o'er the vast expanse primordial wind
Breath'd gently, till a lucid bubble rose,
Which grew in perfect shape an Egg refin'd :
Created substance no such lustre shows,
Ea-rth no such beauty knows.
SIR WILLIAM JONES.
Above the warring waves it danc'd elate,
Till from its bursting shell with lovely state
A form cerulean flutter'd o'er the deep.
Brightest of beings, greatest of the great :
Who, not as mortals steep
Their eyes in dewy sleep,
But heav'nly-pensive on the Lotus lay,
That blossom'd at his touch and shed a golden ray.
Hail, primal Blossom ! hail empyreal gem !
KEMEL, or PEDMA, or whate'er high name
Delight thee, say, what four-form'd Godhead came,.
With graceful stole and beamy diadem,
Forth from thy verdant stem?
Full-gifted BREHMA! Rapt in solemn thought
He stood, and round his eyes fire-darting threw :
But, whilst his viewless origin he sought,
One plain he saw of living waters blue,
Their spring nor saw nor knew.
Then, in his parent stalk again retir'd
With restless pain for ages he inquir'd.
What were his pow'rs, by whom, and why conf err'd :
With doubts perplex'd, with keen impatience fir'd
He rose, and rising heard
Th' unknown all-knowing Word,
" BREHMA! no more in vain research persist:
My veil thou canst not move. — Go; bid all worlds exist,""
Hail, self-existent, in celestial speech
NARAYEN, from thy watery cradle, nam'd;
Or VENAMALY may I sing unblam'd,
With flow'ry braids, that to thy sandals reach.
Whose beauties, who can teach?
Or high PEITAMBER clad in yellow robes
Than sunbeams brighter in meridian glow.
That weave their heav'n-spun light o'er circling globes?
Unwearied, lotus-eyed, with dreadful bow,
Dire Evil's constant foe,
SIR WILLIAM JONES. 5
Great PEDMANABHA, o'er thy cherish'd world
The pointed Checra, by thy fingers whirl'd,
Fierce KYTABH shall destroy and MEDHU grim
To black despair and deep destruction hurrd.
Such views my senses dim,
My eyes in darkness swim :
What eye can bear thy blaze, what utt'rance tell
Thy deeds with silver trump or may-wreathed shell?
Omniscient Spirit, whose all-ruling pow'r
Bids from each sense bright emanations beam;
Glows in the rainbow, sparkles in the stream.
Smiles in the bud, and glistens in the flow'r
That crowns each vernal bow'r;
Sighs in the gale, and warbles in the throat
Of ev'ry bird, that hails the bloomy spring,
Or tells his love in many a liquid note
Whilst envious artists touch the rival string,
Till rocks and forests ring;
Breathes in rich fragrance from the sandal grove,
Or where the precious musk-deer playful rove;
In dulcet juice from clust'ring fruit distills,
And burns salubrious in the tasteful clove :
Soft banks and verd'rous hills
Thy present influence fills;
In air, in floods, in caverns, woods and plains ;
Thy will inspirits all, thy sov'reign MAYA reigns.
Blue crystal vault, and elemental fires,
That in th' ethereal fluid blaze and breathe ;
Thou, tossing main, whose snaky branches wreathe
This pensile orb with intertwisted gyres ;
Mountains, whose radiant spires
Presumptuous rear their summits to the skies,
And blend their em'rald hue with sapphire light ;
Smooth meads and lawns, that glow with varying dyes
Of dew-bespangled leaves and blossoms bright.
Hence vanish from my sight :
Delusive Pictures ! unsubstantial shows !
My soul absorb'd One only Being knows.
6 SIR WILLIAM JONES.
Of all perceptions One abundant source,
Whence ev'ry object ev'ry moment flows
Suns hence derive their force,
Hence planets learn their course;
But suns and fading- worlds I view no more :
God only I perceive ; God only I adore.
The Letters of Simpkin the Second,
upon the Trial of Warren Hastings."
You have ask'd me, dear Simon, a number of times,
To send you some more of my ludicrous rhimes ;
Want of matter has hitherto check'd my endeavour.
But a subject occurs which may last me for ever,
You must know, Mr. Burke, who was quondam a teacher,
An usher, I think, is become an IMPEACHER;
In the House he had rail'd against Hastings so long.
That the Commons believ'd he had done something wrong;
So they articles voted, not less than a score,
Tho' Edmund says, he cou'd have fram'd many more.
As my hero asserted, and Hastings denied,
A day was appointed for him to be tried :
But now for a time I must make a digression,
To give an account of the court in procession.
The Lord Chancellor's family first came in view,
And the order observed, was to walk two and two ;
Then the Clerks and the Masters in Chancery came.
Then the Judges of England in duo's the same.
With Adair the King's Serjeant, and then the Black Rod;
Then Heralds, and Barons, and Fathers in God.
After them were the Viscounts, Earls, Marquisses seen.
Then the Dukes, the Archbishops, and Cryer came in.
Next follows the Chancellor, and last of all
Dukes — Cumberland, Gloster, and York, and Cornwall.
All after the Heralds walk singly, alone,
And each as he passes, bows low to the Throne;
So much for the Nobles, and now I'll describe
The procession of Burke and his eloquent tribe.
First Edmund walks in at the head of the group.
The powerful chief of a powerful troop;
What awful solemnity's seen in his gait,
While the nod of his head, beats the time to his feet.
Charles Fox is the second, and close to his right.
Whose waddle declares he will never go straight.
The ruby fac'd Sheridan follows the third,
The opposer of Pitt and the Treasury Board;
His attention, 'tis said, has so long been directed
To the National Debts, that his own are neglected.
And on public affairs, where such management's shewn,
No wonder a man cannot think of his own.
Then Francis comes sneaking with grief in his heaj^t,
At not being indulg'd with a Manager's part ;
Tho' he now and then steals to the Manager's box.
To suggest a shrewd question to Edmund or Fox.
The Commons, all those who from riding have leisure.
Without order come in, and go out at their pleasure.
When the Lords and the Judges had taken their stations,
The Serjeant at Arms utter'd three proclamations;
Then the charges and answers were read by the clerk,
And some were got through by the time it was dark.
The second day also was wasted in reading.
But the third produced something of Edmund's proceeding:
He rose and began — "You will find in the sequel,
" My Lords, to this task I am very unequal :
" But, the Commons, who hold me in high estimation,
" Believe I am qualify'd well for the station."
The lawyer appear'd in whatever he spoke,
Than Blackstone more learn'd, more ingenious than Coke.
Rules of evidence they had the merit of stating,
But Edmund lays claim to the praise of creating:
Yet even this deed by himself was excell'd
In describing the countries he never beheld ;
To be sure, his descriptions were vastly admir'd,
The whole was his own, for his tongue was inspir'd
With knowledge divine he expos'd to our view
The religion of Hindoos, and Mussalmans too.
And he said Junghez Khan only seized their dominions,
But that Hastings wag'd war with the people's opinions.
Here the orator blustered, at least for an hour,
About Warren Hastings, and absolute power,
Who, according to Burke, has been forming a plan
To map geographical morals for man.
Who to shew us his great geometrical art,
Fit climates for virtues has drawn on a chart ;
That virtues and vices, that duties and crimes.
May change with the latitudes, countries, and climes.
Here Edmund committed his honour and word
To prove moral geography vastly absurd ;
And by way of a secret, their Lordships were told
That truth's not affected by heat or by cold;
" Far better," says he, " when the English went thither,
" Had they call'd the inhabitant natives together ;
" And instead of subduing, or them over-reaching,
" Had busy'd themselves with evangelic preaching.
" No converts made they to the Christian religion,
" But pluck'd the rich blacks like the wing of a pigeon.
" For there was the Company's government built
" Upon plunder, and rapine, and all kinds of guilt ;
" In a system like this, 'tis no matter of wonder,
" If all were inspired by the spirit of plunder.
** There was not a captain, nor scarce a seapoy,
" But a Prince would depose, or a Bramin destroy ;"
Here the Hero digressed, and related some tales
Of a prince to be slain, as he thought, by three seals.
How Nabobs, and Ministers had been opprest.
And the innocent natives with famine distrest.
Now Edmund returns to his well-belov'd theme;
To prove Hastings' power should not be supreme ;
The Government rule 'twas his duty to draw
From Coke upon Littleton, writers on law:
And whenever their Lordships shall come to decide,
Burke hoped they would take British laws for their guide;
'Tis contended, says he, by the party accus'd,
We should govern by laws to which subjects are used.
But, my Lords, I maintain, 'tis expedient and fitting,
To govern the world by the laws of Great Britain ;
Nor do I conceive that it matters a jot.
With respect to the laws, if they knew them or not.
And the prisoner, I trust, will be try'd and attainted
By those laws alone, with which I am acquainted.
Here this letter ends, but expect, my dear Brother,
When Edmund resumes I will send you another.
The Art of Living in India.
No more shall tragic stories fill our rhymes
Come turn and look at life in softer climes ;
In Eastern India's realm pursue the route,
Where passions burn within, and Suns without.
Calcutta, lo ! as London o'er the Thames,
Lifts her high head above old Hougly's streams :
There, Novice, fix your residence, and try
To scan the passing scene with curious eye ;
The motley mass of various life discern.
And put in practice quickly what you learn.
First, if you mean to gain a due respect,
(And what so terrible as cold neglect!)
Let eight trim bearers uniformly dress'd
Attend your palanquin of modern taste ;
Fly at a call, and bring you here and there
To laugh and chatter — God knows what or where,.
In vulgar eyes a palanquin has charms.
But on the shining sides emblaze your arms,
This elegant convenience first procure,
Before you thrust your nose without the door.
Let a long train, obsequious at a call.
Attend in order round your spacious hall ;
At breakfast seated, let the shining plate,
Arrang'd with splendour, indicate your state ;
For taste superior, gracious Heaven invoke.
And learn that fashionable art — to smoke!
The breakfast ended, on a couch reclin'd.
The grateful hookah will relax the mind ;
'Tis then the crouching slaves our orders take.
Before they know what we're about to speak :
But if some low born creditor should come.
Be sure give orders then, you're not at home.
In ' kill time visits ' pass away the noon,
And 'chit chat parties' never leave too soon;
Hear how they talk of politics, and how
The news of the confederate armies go ;
Or rather with the laughing Ladies play.
And spend in fiddle faddle half the day»
Since now you bask in Fortune's sunny ray.
Give, give, your rolling gold to live the day.
Not like the griping set who save and spare
To perish wretched in cold northern air.
When'er your easy mistress goes abroad,
Then let the pomp of Flavius fill the road;
Let six chubdars your silver sticks display,
And shading punkas mitigate the day;
Let emeralds set, her slender wrists enfold,
And all her purfled vestments shine with gold:
Let her, ah! let her thus genteely ride,
While, as she comes, we starers sneak aside.
When she's at home (how dear the thoughts of
Keep her secluded in a separate dome
Conscious to love and the soft hours of joy.
Let her mid fragrant oils the noon employ ;
Let her there, wrapp'd in robes of costly lawn.
Enjoy the sweets of aromatic pawn.
While servile daees, in flowing cloth array'd.
By turns attend, and fan your charming maid.
Yes, yes, ye Gods, sure such is earthly bliss.
What would I give to be the Lord of this !
Ye shapely Nymphs, who form my pleasing theme
Ye, born where Ganga rolls her hallow'd streank.
Accept these numbers, written with spirit free,
I love your India and your India me !
Thus I've selected, with a judgment nice,
Instructive lessons of oblique advice ;
Be your attention to the Muse inclin'd,
And print them on the tablet of your mind.
From the days of Job Charnock, scarce known on record.
To the triumphs of Plassey's redoubtable Lord,
The Company traffick'd unheeded :
She sent her ships forth, the wide ocean to roam,
With rich cargoes well freighted, and brought richer homei
And in all she adventur'd succeeded.
By oppression provok'd, she to arms had recourse,
And soon made her oppressors submit to her force;
From defensive proceeded offender:
And her courage attemper'd with wisdom conspir'd
To aggrandize her pow'r, till at length she acquir'd
Of an empire entire the surrender.
Now the sages in schools of diplomacy bred,
Civil doctors, divines, and state-moralists said —
(And the senate confirm'd their opinion;)
That for her, a mere trader (for what was she more?)
Or her factors and clerks, from her counting-house door,
To pretend to the rights of dominion;
That to give up the pen in exchange for the gun;
To hold rule over nations — no matter how won: —
To make treaties ; assume legislature ;
Nay worse, of finance to distribute the drains,
To elicit their currents, and pocket the gains ;
Was to gospel repugnant and nature.
14 WARREN HASTINGS.
So they stripped off her robe ; but the loss to atone.
His Majesty gave her a cloak of his own;
Lent her armies and fleets for protectors ;
To diminish her cares, and to lighten their weight,
For her guardians appointed the Lords of the State,
And a Board to direct her Directors.
Thus equipp'd, and embrac'd by the beams of the throne.
As once Semele, wrapp'd in Jove's attributes, shone,
Now as meek and resigned as a martyr.
With the guilt of imputed offences defil'd,
By rapacity pilfer'd, by malice revil'd.
She gave up the ghost, and her charter.
Though ignoble her birth, yet in death she may boast
That her orb in the colours of glory was lost.
Like the sun, when he sets in Orion ;
This reflection of comfort at least to produce —
That her greatness arose from the quill of a goose, ^^
And was crush'd by the paw of a lion.
Ode to an Indian Gold Coin.
Slave of the dark and dirty mine !
What vanity has brought thee here?
Hov^- can I love to see thee shine
So bright, whom I have bought so dear?
The tent-ropes flapping lone I hear
For tw^ilight-converse, arm in arm;
The jackal's shriek bursts on mine ear
When mirth and music v^ront to charm.
By Cherical's dark wandering streams,
Where cane-tufts shadow all the wild.
Sweet visions haunt my waking dreams
Of Teviot lov'd while still a child,
Of castled rocks stupendous pil'd
By Esk or Eden's classic wave.
Where loves of youth and friendships smil'd,
Uncurs'd by thee, vile yellow slave !
Fade, day-dreams sweet, from memory fade!
The perish'd bliss of youth's first prime.
That once so bright on fancy play'd.
Revives no more in after-time,
Far from my sacred natal clime,
I haste to an untimely grave ;
The daring thoughts that soar'd sublime
Are sunk in ocean's southern wave.
16 JOHN LEYDEN.
Slave of the mine! thy yellow light
Gleams baleful as the tomb-fire drear —
A gentle vision comes by night
My lonely widow'd heart to cheer;
Her eyes are dim w^ith many a tear.
That once wer& guiding stars to mine:
Her fond heart throbs with many a fear —
I cannot bear to see thee shine.
For thee, for thee, vile yellow slave,
I left a heart that lov'd me true I
I cross'd the tedious ocean-wave,
To roam in climes unkind and new.
The cold wind of the stranger blew
Chill on my wither'd heart: — the grave
Dark and untimely met my view —
And all for thee, vile yellow slave!
Ha ! com'st thou now so late to mock
A wanderer's banish'd heart forlorn,
Now that his frame the lightning shock
Of sun-rays tipt with death has borne?
From love, from friendship, country, torn,
To memory's fond regrets the prey,
Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn —
Go, mix thee with thy kindred clay!
The Battle of Assaye.
Written in 1803.
Shout, Britons, for the battle of Assaye!
For that was a day
When we stood in our array.
Like the lion's might at bay.
And our battle-word was "Conquer or die."
JOHN LEYDEN. 17
Rouse ! rouse the cruel leopard from his lair.
With his yell the mountain rings,
And his red eye round he flings,
As arrow-like he springs,
And spreads his clutching paw to rend and tear.
Then first array'd in battle-front we saw,
Far as the eye could glance.
The Mahratta banners dance
O'er the desolate expanse;
And their standard was the leopard of Malwa.
But, when we first encounter'd man to man,
Such odds came never on.
Against Greece or Macedon,
When they shook the Persian throne
Mid the old barbaric pomp of Ispahan.
No number'd might of living men could tame
Our gallant band, that broke
Through the bursting clouds of smoke,
When the vollied thunder spoke
From a thousand smouldering mouths of lurid flame.
Hail Wellesley! who led'st the martial fray!
Amid the locust swarm,
Dark fate was in thine arm;
And his shadow shall alarm
The Mahratta when he hears thy name for aye^
Ah! mark these British corses on the plain 1
Each vanish'd like a star
Mid the dreadful ranks of war.
While their foemen stood afar.
And gaz'd with silent terror at the slain.
Shout Britons, for the battle of Assaye!
Ye who perish'd in your prime,
Your hallow'd names sublime
Shall live to endless time.
For heroic worth and fame shall never die^
18 JOHN LEYDEN.
Address to my Malay Krees.
Written while pursued by a French privateer off Sumatra.
Where is the arm I well could trust
To urge the dagger in the fray?
Alas! how powerless now its thrust,
Beneath Malaya's burning day.
The sun has wither'd in their prime
The nerves that once were strong as steel
Alas! in danger's venturous time
That I should live their loss to feel.
Yet still my trusty Krees prove true,
If e'er thou serv'dst at need the brave,
And thou shalt wear a crimson hue,
Or I shall win a watery grave.
Now let thine edge like lightning glow,
And, second but thy master's will,
Malay ne'er struck a deadlier blow.
Though practis'd in the art to kill.
O ! by thy point ! for every wound
Where trace of Frankish blood hath been.
A golden circle shall surround
Thy hilt of agate smooth and green.
My trusty Krees now play thy part,
And second well thy master's will!
And I will wear thee next my heart.
And many a life-blood owe thee still.
JOHN LEYDEN. 19
Verses written at Sagur Island in 1807.
On sea-girt Sagur's desert isle,
Mantled with thickets dark and dun,
May never moon or starlight smile,
Nor ever beam the summer sun!
Strange deeds of blood have there been done.
In mercy ne'er to be forgiven ;
Deeds the far-seeing eye of heaven
Veiled his radiant orb to shun.
To glut the shark and crocodile
A mother brought her infant here:
She saw its tender playful smile,
She shed not one maternal tear;
She threw it on a watery bier :
With grinding teeth sea monsters tore
The smiling infant which she bore :
She shrunk not once its cries to hear!
Ah! mark that victim wildly drest.
His streaming beard is hoar and grey.
Around him floats a crimson vest,
Red-flowers his matted locks array.
Heard you these brazen timbrels bray?
His heart-blood on the lotus-flower
They offer to the Evil Power ;
And offering turn their eyes away.
Dark Goddess of the iron mace,
Flesh-tearer ! quaffing life-blood warm,
The terrors of thine awful face
The pulse of mortal hearts alarm.
Grim Power ! if human woes can charm.
Look to the horror of the flood,
Where crimson'd Ganga shines in blood,
And man-devouring monsters swarm.
20 JOHN LEYDEN.
Skull-chaplet-wearer ! whom the blood
Of man delights a thousand years,
Than whom no face, by land or flood,
More stern and pitiless appears,
Thine is the cup of human tears.
For pomp of human sacrifice
Cannot the cruel blood suffice
Of tigers, which thine island rears?
Not all blue Ganga's mountain-flood.
That rolls so proudly round thy fane.
Shall cleanse the tinge of human blood,
Nor wash dark Sagur's impious stain
The sailor, journeying on the main,
Shall view from far the dreary isle,
And curse the ruins of the pile
Where Mercy ever sued in vain.
Calcutta : a Poem.
Curse on the ship in evil hour that bore
My jolted frame to India's burning shore!
An inauspicious hour, from which I date
The bitter torments of a wretched fate :
Deluded, listening to the tales they told.
Lands rich in mines, and rivers streaming gold;
Whence twelve short years in Luxury's lap beguiled.
Would bear me homeward. Fortune's favourite child.
To pass my days in some secure retreat,
Or grace the mazes of St. James's Street;
Even then, in fancy drawn with bays or roans,
I seized the reins, and rattled o'er the stones.
Oh ! fond delusion ! prospects nursed in vain,
The rude creation of a thoughtless brain !
A visionary image, formed to shun
The melting gaze of India's fervid sun!
Now, sad reverse ! the rich delusion flies,
House, park, and carriage vanish from my eyes!
Condemned, alas! twelve tedious years to burn
Nor dare the vast expenses of return,
When all the savings of attentive care
Would scarcely buy a cabin eight feet square ;
Content in England with a single room,
And solitary nag without a groom.
Alas ! the service is not what it was !
How much degen'rate from those golden days,
When money streamed a thousand different ways.
When hands and pockets wisely understood
No rule of guidance but their master's good;
Ere yet we ventured honesty to sham.
And drew no profit from the low salaam;
Thought it no fault, whatever were the drift,
To take a handsome nuzza as a gift!
Now rules and scruples all our prospects blast,
Touch but the money, and you lose your caste.
Who dried a source that swelled the guilty purse
Claims our best thanks, and has no Briton's curse -
And ill is treasure used, and wisdom shown.
In dealing cates and banquets to the drone.
First show the balance where your merits weigh,
Then prove an hardship in the want of pay,
And hint at least an equitable rate
To pay your zeal and services of state,
That wear and tear of body and of mind,
When crazed with thinking, and with study blinds
Your monthly pay-bills in a huff you scrawl.
For what? three hundred siccas — and that's all!
Fast by the banks where muddy Hoogly flows.
The merchant's seat, a modest factory, rose.
While yet no works of engineering skill
Thundered resistance to a nabob's will.
While yet Bengal an Indian prince obeyed.
And careful factors plied the silken trade,
Content with grants that jealousies prescribe,
And paid their court to eunuchs by a bribe.
Not long their bound'ry a Mahratta ditch,
When roused by wrong, and burning to be richj
When fell revenge a cruel coward smote,
And Meerum's poignard struck Surajah's throat.
To bolder prospects learning to aspire,
The peaceful merchant caught the soldier's fire ;
In native squabbles ventured to intrigue,
Revenged another's wrong, or joined a league;
In self-defence he triumphed o'er his foes,
And courted quarrels to ensure repose.
A nobler policy, a wiser plan,
Ne'er reared a state, nor animated man:
For kings amazed in passing years beheld
The modest factory to an empire swelled,
The power of India's ancient rulers flown.
And nabobs take a pension for a throne!
Hence vig'rous commerce, unexampled trade.
Springs from that best of maxims — to invade ;
And 'tis far better, spurning all control,
To stretch an honest hand, and grasp the whole ;
To tax a people ready to obey.
And hug the sweets of universal sway;
Than fix on articles a stated price.
And meanly trade for indigo and rice!
Alas ! creative nature calls to light
Myriads of winged forms in sportive flight,
When gathered clouds with ceaseless fury pour
A constant deluge in the rushing shower,
On every dish the bouncing beetle falls,
The cockroach plays, or caterpillar crawls ; '
A thousand shapes of variegated hues
Parade the table, and inspect the stews!
To living walls the swarming hundreds stick,
Or court a dainty meal, the oil wick,
Heaps over heaps their slimy bodies drench.
Out go the lamps with suffocating stench!
When hideous insects ev'ry plate defile,
The laugh how empty, and how forced the smile!
The knife and fork a quiet moment steal,
Slumber secure, and bless the idle meal ;
The pensive master, leaning in his chair.
With manly patience mutters in despair —
England! show, with all thy fabled bliss,
One scene of real happiness like this !
Oh ! for that happy day (compared with that,
All days are joyless and all pleasures flat,)
When filled with boundless raptures of delight,
1 view low Saugor fading from the sight;
Hail in the welcome breeze a glad retreat
From shores that glisten with eternal heat;
And, as the bellying sails distended swell.
To heat and India bid a long farewell!
Where milder suns on happier seasons shine.
Be Britain's isle and British comfort mine ;
Where kindred ties the passing hour endear.
Prompt the glad smile, and wipe the falling tear:
Where Liberty with Justice reigns entwined,
And wakes to life the virtues of the mind:
Where pure Devotion pours her heaven-taught prayer.
And awful piles a reverend aspect wear,
Their sacred spires amid the prospect smile,
And speak in grateful praise the favoured isle;
Unseen the barb'rous rite, the frantic train.
Unheard the shout that frights the idol fane!
Sweet is the view where nature's bounteous plan
Owes a last polish to industrious man!
Dear land! the best of thoughts where'er I stray.
At night my vision, and my theme by day.
The Adventures of Qui Hai.
Next morning's sun had just arisen,
And drove the dusky clouds from heaven.
Ere Qui Hai, on his Arab horse.
Set off to find Byculla course ;
Where, 'twas determin'd, ev'ry man
Should meet before the hunt began.
Their breakfast now the sportsmen take.
Merely a " plug of malt," and steak,
The bugle's signal now, of course,
Summon'd the bobbery to horse:
They get the word, and off they move,
In all directions, to Love-Grove.
A jackass, buff'lo, or tattoo.
The sportsmen anxiously pursue.
Old women join the beasts in running:
"The jungle wallas now are coming!"
A loud " view-hollo " now is given :
"A dog, a Paria, by heaven!
" Surround him — there he goes — ^a-head :
" Put all your horses to their speed."
He's lost — the knave has taken cover!
Old L — n now perceives another.
"Hark! forward, sportsmen — 'tis the same:
" The rascal he shews famous game.
" See how the fellow scours along,
" In a direction to Ghirghon :
" Dash after him ; he turns again ;
" We'll find him on Byculla plain.
" Oh luckless ! we have lost all hope —
" He's taken cover in a tope."
Thus spoke the huntsman, and he swore
He'd find him, or he'd hunt no more.
The horsemen fearlessly push in,
Contending who the ear should win;
For, gentle reader ! know, that here
A brush is nothing to an ear.
But Qui Hai, disregarding care,
Fell headlong on a prickly pear:
Making, incautiously, a bound.
Both horse and rider bit the ground;
But luckily, except some dirt,
They both escap'd without a hurt.
The Paria in the tope they caught;
His ear extravagantly bought.
The cur had run them such a heat,
As put the hunters in a sweat;
They vow'd that on a future day,
They'd take his other ear away;
Now jumping-powder, wine and beer.
The riders and the horses cheer.
The huntsman now inform'd them all,
They were to tiff at Bobb'ry Hall.
Mounted again, the party starts,
Upsets the hackeries and carts;
Hammalls, and palanquins, and doolies,
Dobies, and Burrawas, and coolies,
Malabar hill at last they gain'd;
Our hero at its foot remain'd;
His horse he could not think to ride,
Like others, up its rugged side.
So wisely took another path,
That led directly to the bath.
Where soon he found the party met
Were all for tiffin sharply set.
What rounds of beef, hampers of beer.
What jumping-powder they had here,
It is impossible to tell —
To hint at them will do as well.
It, therefore, must suffice to say,
That Qui Hai spent a pleasant day;
But with the jumping-powder heated,
He got completely — elevated;
So much so he could scarce remember
The huntsman's song, " Fifth of November " ;
And 'ere they could cry out encore,
He tumbled plump upon the floor ;
But as he lay upon the ground,
His health w^ith three times three went round.
Our hero soon regain'd his seat,
And kept it up till it was late.
More jumping-powder, they were sure.
Would certainly effect a cure;
This antidote so soon discovered.
Our hero tried, and got recover'd;
Then join'd them in their songs and laughter.
Nor e'er complain'd of head-ache after.
Homewards the party now proceeds,
Scarce capable to guide their steeds.
But tho' through rocks and topes they went,
None of them met an accident.
How Qui Hai had contriv'd to mount.
He never after could account;
Nor how his saddle he could keep.
For all the time he was asleep.
The horse (quite sober) knew the way,
Without direction, to Bombay;
Nor stopp'd till at th' Apollo gate.
Him and his rider's forc'd to wait ;
Soon as the sentry hoarsely spoke,
Qui Hai immediately awoke :
He found his horse had been mistaken.
And an improper road had taken ;
He chang'd his course, and soon he found
The way into his own compound;
Where he, as usual, from his gipsy,
A lecture got for being tipsy.
A letter from Shigram-Po to his Father.
CalciiUa one hundred years ago.
You know, my dear Parent, how oft you and I
Talk'd in praise of Bengal, ere I wish'd you good bye.
Of the riches and rank which were sure to accrue
To those who its glittering paths should pursue ;
No more on such faithless descriptions depend,
'Tis a fudge I've found out, from beginning to end !
You'll expect I am sure whilst my sorrows I utter,
That I write some few hints about charming Calcutta.
It is without doubt a magnificent spot.
Both charmingly sickly and charmingly hot!
'Tis the City of Palaces, long since so named.
And for very large mansions most justly is famed.
These mansions of bliss to extend may be said.
From the ghaut at Chandpal down the whole Esplanade,
Including the Court House, Town Hall and besides
The great house of all, where the Governor resides.
The first in the list is a mansion we find.
Where justice and mercy, are justly combined,
Where Lawyers dispute, but on one point agree.
And that is — the never refusing a fee.
Next, the Town Hall in turn, stands in splendid array,
Tho' many supposed, 't would fall down t' other day,
But confident grown, they by hundreds assemble,
And dance till they make every board of it tremble !
'Tis there, when they hold their famed conversationes,
Ladies meet their admirers, and men meet their cronies.
Then clubs oft assemble in commemoration
Of some great event, some of strange designation!
Amongst them, The Lunatics, who modest elves,
Have taken this Lunatic title themselves 1
They meet once a month, when the Moon's at it's full,
With bumpers of claret their sorrows to lull.
But I doubt much indeed, if the day of the feast
Of all lucid intervals — is not the least.
How many there'd be at the club to imbibe,
If all who are Lunatic would but subscribe!
To those who're accustomed to ride on the course,
An Arab's considered the most showy horse.
Rotten Row of a Sunday ne'er made the display
Nor boasted the beauty seen there every day!
Where soon as it's sun-set, the ladies resort
By Hygeian gusts their weak spirits support,
In Chariots, Barouches and Sociables too.
All open of course, to ensure better view,
Or what is more likely, and what my lines mean,
They are open that they may both see and be seen!
Here friends meet together, converse as they ride,
And gentlemen follow the Barouche's side,
Who whilst they're inhaling the genial air,
Are talking soft nonsense besides to the fair!
* * * «
We have newspapers too, as you have in the West,
Each editor striving to prove his the best,
With pages enough for a Counsellor's brief,
Tho' some of them still might turn o'er a new leaf!
The Journal, Gazette, The Harkaru and Post,
The India Gazette, and the awful nam'd Ghost.
The columns of some, we peruse but with pain,
Perceiving the feuds which they daily contain.
No paper appears but produces new schism.
Or charges perhaps of fresh radicalism,
But what should we do, we'd be bad off indeed.
If we had not a paper of some kind to read.
And here when a vessel arrives we devour
The news of six months in the space of an hour.
if: * * * #
The customs of living are strange in th' extreme
And to you my dear Parent will very odd seem.
Here they rise very late, and beginning to dress,
Are surrounded by slaves for they can't do with less.
Here the natives of India to caste do so cling,
You scarcely get two to perform the same thing.
One puts on a stocking, one holds a serie
Another with chillumchees stands ready by,
A third has a mirror, he brings to your view,
A fourth fellow's tying the string of your shoe !
Or perhaps if undressing, a bearer's undoing
Your shoes or cravat, there's another shampooing
Your arms or your legs whiche'er he may light on
As famed Dean Mahomed shampoos you at Brighton I
Equipp'd to the table they hie to partake
Of breakfast, by far the best meal that they make.
Then each his own business prepares to pursue
But ere they proceed, smoke a chillum or two.
* * * *
But now my dear father, 'tis full time to close
This very long letter, or you may suppose
That having commenc'd, I may never intend
To bring my remarks on our town to an end.
Adieu! then dear parent and long live to know
That I'm always your dutiful son Shigram-Po!
Lines Addressed to Mrs. Heber.
If thou wert by my side, my love,
How fast would evening fail
In green Bengala's palmy grove
Listening the nightingale!
If thou, my love, wert by my side.
My babies at my knee.
How gaily would our pinnace glide
O'er Gunga's mimic sea !
I miss thee at the dawning gray,
When, on our deck reclined,
In careless ease my limbs I lay
And woo the cooler wind.
I miss thee when by Gunga's stream
My twilight steps I guide.
But most beneath the lamp's pale beam
I miss thee from my side.
I spread my books, my pencil try
The lingering noon to cheer.
But miss thy kind approving eye,
Thy meek attentive ear.
But when of morn and eve the star
Beholds me on my knee,
I feel, though thou art distant far,
Thy prayers ascend for me.
32 REGINALD HEBER.
Then on! then on! where duty leads.
My course be onward still,
O'er broad Hindostan's sultry mead,
O'er bleak Almorah's hill.
That course, nor Delhi's kingly gates,
Nor wild Malwah detain ;
For sweet the bliss us both awaits
By yonder western main.
Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say.
Across the dark blue sea ;
But ne'er were hearts so light and gay
As then shall meet in thee!
An Evening Walk in Bengal.
Our task is done! on Gunga's breast
The sun is sinking down to rest;
And, moored beneath the tamarind bough.
Our bark has found its harbour now.
With furled sail and painted side
Behold the tiny frigate ride.
Upon her deck, 'mid charcoal gleams.
The Moslem's savoury supper steams;
While all apart, beneath the wood.
The Hindoo cooks his simpler food.
Come walk with me the jungle through.
If yonder hunter told us true.
Far off, in desert dank and rude.
The tiger holds its solitude;
Nor (taught by recent harm to shun
The thunders of the English gun)
A dreadful guest but rarely seen.
Returns to scare the village green.
REGINALD HEBER. 33
Come boldly on ! no venom'd snake
Can shelter in so cool a brake :
Child of the Sun, he loves to lie
'Midst Nature's embers, parch'd and dry,
Where o'er some tower in ruin laid.
The peepul spreads its haunted shade ;
Or round a tomb his scales to wreath,
Fit warder in the gate of Death.
Come on ! yet pause ! Behold us now
Beneath the bamboo's arched bough,
Where, gemming oft that sacred gloom
Glows the geranium's scarlet bloom,
And winds our path through many a bower
Of fragrant tree and giant flower;
The ceiba's crimson pomp displayed
O'er the broad plantain's humbler shade.
And dusk anana's prickly glade ;
While o'er the brake, so wild and fair.
The betel waves his crest in air.
With pendent train and rushing wings
Aloft the gorgeous peacock springs ;
And he the bird of hundred dyes,
Whose plumes the dames of Ava prize.
So rich a shade, so green a sod
Our English fairies never trod.
Yet who in Indian bowers has stood.
But thought on England's " good green wood,"
And bless'd beneath the palmy shade,
Her hazel and her hawthorn glade.
And breath'd a prayer, (how oft in vain)
To gaze upon her oaks again?
A truce to thought. — the jackal's cry
Resounds like sylvan revelry;
And through the trees yon failing ray
Will scantly serve to guide our way.
Yet mark, as fade the upper skies.
Each thicket opes ten thousand eyes.
34 REGINALD HEBER.
Before, beside us, and above,
The fire-fly lights his lamp of love.
Retreating, chasing, sinking, soaring,
The darkness of the copse exploring,
While to this cooler air confest,
The broad Dhatura bares her breast
Of fragrant scent and virgin white,
A pearl around the locks of night.
Still as we pass, in softened hum
Along the breezy alleys come
The village song, the horn, the drum.
Still as we pass, from bush and brier,
The shrill Cigala strikes his lyre ;
And, what is she whose liquid strain
Thrills through yon copse of sugar-cane?
I know that soul-entrancing swell,
It is — it must be — Philomel.
Enough, enough, the rustling trees
Announce a shower upon the breeze,
The flashes of the summer sky
Assume a deeper, ruddier dye ;
Yon lamp that trembles on the stream.
From forth our cabin sheds its beam;
And we must early sleep, to find
Betimes the morning's healthy wind.
But oh! with thankful hearts confess
E'en here there may be happiness ;
And He, the bounteous Sire, has given
His peace on earth, — His hope of heaven.
On the Abolition of Sattee.
Red from his chambers came the morning sun
And frowned, dark Ganges, on thy fatal 'shore.
Journeying on high ; but when the day was done
He set in smiles, to rise in blood no more.
Hark! heard ye not? the widow's wail is over;
No more the flames from impious pyres ascend.
See Mercy, now primeval peace restore.
While pagans glad the arch ethereal rend,
For India hails at last, her father and her friend.
Back to its cavern ebbs the tide of crime.
There fettered, locked, and powerless it sleeps ;
And History bending o'er the page of time.
Where many a mournful record still she keeps,
The widowed Hindoo's fate no longer weeps ;
The priestly tyrant's cruel charm is broken.
And to his den alarmed the monster creeps;
The charm that mars his mystic spell is broken.
O'er all the land 'tis spread : he trembles at the token.
Bentinck, be thine the everlasting meed!
The heart's full homage still is virtue's claim.
And 'tis the good man's ever honoured deed
Which gives an immortality to fame:
Transient and fierce, though dazzling is the flame
That glory lights upon the wastes of war:
Nations unborn shall venerate thy name,
A triumph than the conqueror's mightier far,
Thy memory shall be blessed as is the morning star.
S6 HENRY DEROZIO.
He is the friend of man who breaks the seal
The despot custom sets in deed and thought,
He labours generously for human weal
Who holds the omnipotence of fear as naught;
The winged mind will not to earth be brought,
'Twill sink to clay if it imprisoned be ;
For 'tis with high immortal longings fraught.
And these are dimmed or quenched eternally,
Until it feels the hand that sets its pinions free.
And woman hath endured, and still endures
Wrong, which her weakness and her woes should shield^
The slave and victim of the treacherous lures
Which wily arts, to man, the tyrant yield:
And here the sight of star, or flower, or field;
Or bird that journeys through the sunny air,
Or social bliss from woman has been sealed,
To her, the sky is dark, the earth is bare.
And Heaven's most hallowed breath pronounced
But with prophetic ken, dispelling fears
Which haunt the mind that dwells on nature's plan.
The Bard beholds through mists of coming years
A rising spirit speaking peace to man,
The storm is passing, and the Rainbow's span
Stretcheth from North to South : the ebon car
Of darkness rolls away: the breezes fan
The infant dawn, and morning's herald star
Comes trembling into day: O! can the Sun be far?
SIR CHARLES D'OYLEY.
Tom Raw the Griffin.
Now Mister Thomas Raw was so methodical,
That letters recommendatory he sorted
All alphabetically, — 'tis a mode I call
Wise in a youth — we know not where he caught it.
Thus Mister A. was first to be resorted
To, — Mister Z. the very last of all.
His breakfast finished, and his best clothes sported,
To Buxoo, his factotum, loud the call
Of " Ticka-palkee," echoed through the punch-house hall.
Buxoo the mandate (quite art em secundum).
Immediately obeyed. — He knew the ahib logue,
In Town, Chowringhee, Allipore and Dumdum,
The offices, and Europe-shops in vogue,
Palmer and Co., and Davidson and Hogue ;
In short, he'd shew his master all the lions;
Tom in his palkee tumbled, while the rogue
Became a peon, — each servitory science
Having well learnt and practised — out of sheer compliance.
Park Street they follow, and, at number three.
The Palkee stops— " Is Mister A. at home?"
Cries Tom — " Don't know," says Buxoo, " but I see ;
""Ho! Durwan, ho! — ho! Durwanjee — he's dumb,
" He smoke his hookah, and he will not come."
" If there's a bell, go ring it with a vengeance,"
Replied his master, as he cocked his thumb.
The Durwan peeps, as he e'er peeps at plain gents,
And, yawning, proves you quite unworthy his attendance.
38 SIR CHARLES D'OYLEY.
"Sahib Ghur me hi?"— "Is Mr. A. within?"
Exclaimed the master and his squire at once,
" Hum poochinga," cried Cerberus, with a grin.
"Here, take my card," roared Tom, — "the man's a dunce!""
Then, waiting full ten minutes in the sun's
O'erpowering influ'nce, counting every throb
That beat upon his brain, the brute returns,
Throws back the portals that keep out the mob,
And with stentorian bawl, proclaims a Bar ke Sahib!
A hundred menials posted at the door,
Demand his name, as, mounting up the flight
Of steps he strides, and proudly march before
To shew the way — 'Twas an appalling sight.
But on he bounds, exerting all his might.
Brandishing a red handkerchief to dry
The dew-drops clustering with effulgence bright
On his carnation brow. — His heart beat high
As the exalted chieftain he was drawing nigh.
Now through a spacious dining-room they go,
Where one long table and four dozen chairs
Are seen, and twelve large globe lamps, hanging low.
And in each corner a zepoy, which bears
An Indian shade — while a long punkah stares
The Griffin in the face. Their journey's end.
The study of the great Qui hi, appears ;
The door is opened — Jemmadars low bend
Their well-oiled, pHant backs, and usher in — our friend.
There seated, was a most cadav'rous figure,
With sallow visage, long and wrinkled too,
A large hooked nose, and twinkling eyes— no bigger
Than gooseberries, with just their greenish hue;
His spindle shanks were twined with treble screw;
And the thin hoary honours of his head
Fell long and lank, and scraped into a queue;
His clothes might o'er him and his wife have spread,
And shoes of red nankeen he wore— stitched with white
SIR CHARLES D'OYLEY. 39
Before a desk he sat — bestrewed with papers,
Some English correspondence, and some Persian,
A chamber candlestick with waxen tapers,
Law documents and missals in reversion,
Sewals, jewaubs, et cetera — a version
Of Ayn Akbarry — Nasdan Kyabooka,
A brass pheckdan (our very great aversion)
The saHva receiver of a smoker
Who day and night puffs copiously — a gilded hookah.
Soon as he heard our hero's name, and saw
The youth approach, his glasses were displaced;
And there, indeed, stood honest Thomas Raw,
Just in the act to bow, — with look amazed;
Four strides he'd made, and, at the fifth, he raised
His right leg, which a curve soon brought to bear
Obliquely forward, till the toe just grazed
The matted floor — It made a circuit there
Smart to the right, and ended at length — " as you were."
One hand his dripping forehead wiped, — the other
Was fumbling in his pocket for the letter.
Which was produced in form, while many a brother
Fell to the ground, unbound by tape or fetter.
" What ? — from my friend Will Raw — there never a better
" Old boy, existed," called out Mr. A.
" And you, sir, I presume's his son ? — Well get a
" Chair, and sit down — Here, Chokey-low, I say
" I'm glad to see you — When sail'd you from England, —
"But tell me how you left the squire. Sir Harry?
" Many's the time I've joined him in the chase " —
" Why, first of all, he was induced to marry,
" And, never afterwards, held up his face ;
" They said he broke his neck in Hymen's race.
" He died, however — jointuring well his widow,
" Who, passing to his heir, the fine old place,
" For one whole fortnight, scrupulously hid her
" Pretended grief, and, now's for sale to th' highest bidder !"
40 SIR CHARLES D'OYLEY.
The Qui hi paused, — the pause was long and dreary,
He'd nothing more to ask, nor Tom to say.
He yawned — stretched out his Hmbs, and seemed most weary,
The youth with no encouragement to stay.
Twirled round his Bicknell's hat in every way :
Hope had bespoke him quarters where he was,
But " taza Chillum " dimmed its lively ray.
And soon it suffered a negation poz,
When from his chair the thin old Indian stiffly rose;
With " sorry can't invite you to my house,
" But hope you'll come to-morrow, here, to dinner ;
" Just now there's Major Flask and Mrs. Grouse,
"And I expect from Meerut — Colonel Skinner.
" Your ship's come up — I hope you're not still in her ;
" My breakfast hour is, always, half past eight,
"You'll then see Mrs. A. — You've not yet seen her?
" We dine at seven, — take care you're not too late,"
And then he bowed our hero fairly to the gate.
Ode to a Punkah.
Punkah ! thou long hast merited an ode,
Giving thyself, as well as others airs;
Thou swing'st aloft in every man's abode,
As if in scorn of him and his affairs ;
Viewing him, " grunt and sweat," as Shakespeare says,
(Coarse language, used in ancient days.)
Still puffing on.
Whilst he cries "Aura Veni " — breezes, come!
But soon a rush of heat alters his tone.
And " zor se tan " re-echoes through the room.
Then fringed or unfringed dost thou fly,
Jerk'd back and forward by old Doss,
The bearer. Straight, and now awry;
Croaking on plaintive hooks the beams across,
Tortured by many an awkward pull,
And threatening to come down, and split thy master's skull !
Punkah! 'tis thine to bless
Man, sick or well;
Thou soother of distress,
Who can thy virtues tell?
When a cold glass of soda water throws
The skin into a bath, and smarting glows
The prickly heat, thy wonderous power
Checks the distracting itch in half an hour.
On couch recumbent rolls the invalid;
Thermometer at ninety, ninety-five,
Yellow as saffron, and the heat, indeed.
Too hot by far for any thing alive.
What is there then to give a moment's ease?
Nothing in all the world but thy refreshing breeze.
42 JAMES ATKINSON.
Leaf of the palm wert thou.
Primitive punkah! and thy form is still
The same with Mussulman, and eke Hindoo,
Moved in the hand at will.
In the closed harem cross-legged sit the wives
Of Rajahs and Moghuls, paun ever chewing;
And with the leaf of palm
Fanning themselves, they whiff the balm
Of hookahs, still the stimulus renewing.
And thus 'midst smoke and paun they pass their lazy lives.
But European taste
Suspends thee high;
And thou art most commodiously placed.
Not to disturb the eye.
Whilst the luxurious Soldier or Civilian
Quaffs blushing Lai beneath thy breezy swing.
And gulps factitious airs — which drive a million
Muskeetos from him. buzzing on the wing.
Refreshing flapper! influence divine!
Prime relisher of feasts — unmeasured praise be thine f
Punkah I thou cooler of the fever's heat ;
Dryer of floods that inundate the skin;
Teaching the pulse more temperately to beat,
And keeping sickness out, and health within ;
Thou art a blessing in this nether sphere ;
Without thee, what would man do here —
In this o'erpowering land of cloudless sun?
Why, faith! his hot career would soon be done.
Even now his skin is often like a sheet
Of parchment, crisp and brown, and wo-begone;
Without thee, then would he not be, by heat,
Par-boiled, and grilled, and roasted to the bone?
And yet I am the very first,
To give thee, Punkah, fitting praise ;
In all thy cheering virtues versed,
I consecrate to thee my lays.
Oh ! I love to write about thee,
For I cannot breathe without thee !
JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM.
Starboard Watch, Ahoy !
At midnight's dark and dreary hour,
Deserted e'en by Cynthia's beam,
When tempests beat, and torrents pour.
And twinkHng stars no longer gleam,
The weary seaman, spent with toil,
Hangs on upon the weather shrouds,
And Time's slow progress to beguile.
Sings, as he views the gathering clouds,
" Starboard watch ! ahoy ! "
But who can speak the joy he feels,
While o'er the foam his vessel reels,
As his tired eyelids slumbering fall.
He rouses at the welcome call
Of "Starboard watch, ahoy!"
With anxious care he eyes each wave.
That swelling threatens all to o'erwhelm,
And his storm-beaten bark to save
Directs with skill the faithful helm.
With joy he drinks the cheering grog
'Mid storms that bellow, loud and hoarse;
With joy he heaves the reeling log,
And marks the distance and the course.
But how much greater joy he feels,
While o'er the foam his vessel reels,
As his tired eyelids slumbering fall,
He rouses at the welcome call
Of " Starboard watch, ahoy ! "
SIR JOHN MALCOLM.
Lines Written on the Death of
Where sleep the brave on Java strand,
Thy ardent spirit, Leyden! fled;
And Fame with cypress shades the land,
Where Genius fell, and Valour bled.
When triumph's tale is westward borne,
On Border-Hills no joys shall gleam;
And thy lov'd Teviot long shall mourn
The youthful minstrel of her stream.
Near Jura's rocks the Mermaid's strain
Shall change from glad to solemn lay;
For he is gone, the youthful swain,
Who sung the Maid of Colonsay.
The hardy Tar, Britannia's pride.
Shall hang his manly head in woe ;
The Bard who told how Nelson died.
With harp unstrung, in earth lies low.
I see a weeping band arise,
I hear sad music on the gale ;
Thy dirge is sung from Scotia's skies.
Her mountain sons their loss bewail.
The Minstrel of thy native North
Pours all his soul into the song;
It bursts from near the winding Forth,
And Highland rocks the notes prolong.
SIR JOHN MALCOLM. 45
Yes ! he who struck a matchless lyre
O'er Flodden's field and Katrine's wave,
With trembling- hand now leads the choir
That mourns his Leyden's early grave.
Song at an Anniversary Dinner in cele-
bration of the Battle of Assaye.
As Britannia, elate was triumphantly viewing
The deeds of her sons in the bright page of Fame,
And Memory's magic each joy was renewing,
As she paus'd on the glories of Wellington's name;
To far distant scenes her proud fancy had stray'd.
Where her hero so often victorious had been.
When sudden a Maid, in splendour array'd.
Like a vision of rapture illumined the scene :
'Twas the Genius of Asia, fair land of the Sun —
" To me," She exclaim'd, " you your Wellington owe :
" 'Neath my fostering clime his proud race he begun,
" And matur'd was his fame by its cherishing glow :
" In the morn of his life all resplendent he rose,
"Like the sun which illumines my region's clear sky:
" Dispers'd are his foes, and victory throws
" Unperishing rays o'er the field of Assaye.
"But think not, Britannia! thy children alone
"Have my kingdoms subdued, and my subjects laid low;
" By my own turban'd sons the proud deed has been done,
" I myself," said the Maid, " have inflicted the blow.
" To anarchy's horrors my realms were a prey,
" When first on my shores thou thy banners unf url'd ;
" I welcom'd thy sway — 'twas the morn of a day
" Bringing freedom, and knowledge, to light a dark world.
•46 SIR JOHN MALCOLM.
"Oh, Britannia!" she said, as all radiant she shone,
Her countenance beaming with beauty divine,
"O'er the hearts of my people establish thy throne;
" In one wreath let the laurel and lotus entwine.
*' Once the Star of the East shed its lustre afar,
" And again o'er the earth shall its glories be spread,
■" While my sons round thy car, the foremost in war,
" Rise to fame, by such heroes as Wellington led."
A Scene in the Doab.
In tangled depths the jungles spread
Around the solitary scene,
The lurking panther's sullen tread
Marks the wild paths of the ravine ;
Here too the fierce hyena prowls.
Haunting the dark jheel's broad lagoon ;
And here, at eve, the wolf-cub howls,
And famished jackals bay the moon.
A crumbling mosque — a ruined fort —
Hastening alike to swift decay,
Where owls and vampire bats resort.
And vultures hide them from the day,
Alone remain to tell the tale
Of Moslem power, and Moslem pride,
When shouts of conquest filled the gale
And swords in native blood were dyed,
They sleep — the slayer and the slain —
A lowly grave the victor shares
With the weak slave who wore the chain
None save a craven spirit wears.
Yet had the deeds which they have done
Lived in the poet's deathless song,
These nameless sepoys would have won
All that to valour's hopes belong
48 EMMA ROBERTS.
They brought their faith from distant landS;,
They reared the Moslem badge on high,
And swept away with reeking brands
The reliques of idolatry.
Their wreaths have faded — lizards bask
Upon the marble pavement, where,
'Twas erst the dark-eyed beauty's task
To crown with flowers her raven hair.
Unheeded now the scorpion crawls,
And snakes unscathed in silence glide.
Where once the bright Zenana's halls
To woman's feet were sanctified.
No trace remains of those gay hours
When lamps, in golden radiance bright.
Streamed o'er these now deserted towers
The sunshine of their perfumed light.
The maiden's song, the anklet's bells
So sweetly ringing o'er the floor,
And eyes as soft as the gazelle's
Are heard, and seen, and felt no more.
Now all is silent; the wild cry
Of savage beasts alone is heard,
Or wrathful tempest hurrying by,
Or moanings of some desert bird.
WILLIAM FRANCIS THOMPSON.
We meet 'neath the sounding rafter.
And the walls around are bare,
As they shout to our peals of laughter,
It seems that the dead are there;
So stand to your glasses! steady!
We drink in our comrades' eyes ;
A cup to the dead already —
Hurrah! for the next that dies.
Not here are the goblets glowing,
Not here is the vintage sweet;
'Tis cold, as our hearts are growing.
And dark, as the doom we meet.
But stand to your glasses ! steady !
And soon shall our pulses rise;
Here's a cup to the dead already —
Hurrah! for the next that dies.
There's many a hand that's shaking,
And many a cheek that's sunk ;
But soon, though our hearts are breaking.
They'll burn with the wine we've drunk.
So stand to your glasses! steady!
'Tis here the revival lies ;
A cup to the dead already !
And hurrah ! for the next that dies.
50 W. F. THOMPSON.
Time was when we frowned at others.
We thought we were wiser then;
Ha ! Ha ! let them think of their mothers
Who hope to see them again:
Ho! stand to your glasses! steady!
The thoughtless are here the wise;
Here's a cup to the dead already —
Hurrah! for the next that dies.
Not a sigh for the lot that darkles,
Not a tear for the friends that sink;
We'll fall, 'mid the wine cup's sparkles;
As mute as the wine we drink:
Come stand to your glasses! steady!
'Tis this that the respite buys;
Quaff a cup to the dead already —
Hurrah! for the next that dies.
There's mist on the glass congealing—
'Tis the hurricane's fiery breath;
And thus does the warmth of feeling
Turn ice in the grasp of death:
But stand to your glasses ! steady !
For a moment the vapour flies;
Here's a cup to the dead already —
Hurrah! for the next that dies.
Who dreads to the dust returning?
Who shrinks from the sable shore,
Where the high and haughty yearning
Of the soul shall sting no more?
No! stand to your glasses! steady!
The world is a world of lies:
A cup to the dead already,
And hurrah! for the next that dies.
W. F. THOMPSON. 51
Cut off from the land that bore us,
Betrayed by the land we find,
When the brightest have gone before us.
And the dullest remain behind ;
Stand ! stand ! to your glasses ! steady !
'Tis all we have left to prize ;
One cup to the dead already —
Hurrah ! for the next that dies.
The Jogi's Address to the Ganges.
Dread power, beside thy sacred wave,
We meet as ever now;
To thee we pray, for thee we lave.
But where, oh where, art thou !
The charmed lamp floats trembling by,
And braves the tempest's burst;
'Tis thus for thee we burn and die,
But let us find thee first.
I've sought thee in the cell of stone
From which thy waters rise;
I've sought thee where thy icy throne
Is lost amid the skies ;
And where the sister current meets
Thine own in billowy jar ;
In Cashee's ancient dark retreats.
In wild and lone Hurdwar;
I've shouted where thy torrent boiled,
I've slumbered where it slept.
From eager youth, to age o'ertoiled,
I've looked for thee and wept ;
Where'er thy sacred wave is drun^<^,
In every haunted spot,
I've sought thee — till my spirit sunk.
For oh ! I found thee not.
52 W. F. THOMPSON.
And still in holy dream I pace
Thy sands the livelong day.
And pray that our and thy disgrace.
May quickly pass away;
And oft I look, but still in vain,
To see thy hoary head,
In all an injured God's disdain,
Uprising from thy bed.
And when upon thy glassy stream
Descends the glow of even,
It seems — oh does it only seem —
Thy wave to mix with heaven :
I thither bend my ardent gaze,
Till every hue be past,
Assured that in that radiant blaze,
Thou wilt descend at last.
And in the solemn hour of night,
When Nature's pulse has died.
With many a dark and nameless rite,
I haunt thy gloomy tide ;
And oft I lift my voice on high,
To chaunt the magic line,
And start at echo's far reply,
Half dreading it is thtne.
And now chill age begins to creep
In languor thro' my blood,
And soon I seek thee — low and deep,
Beneath thy gushing flood:
But oh! not yet— for still I yearn,
And still I look to see.
The splendours of the past return.
And all bow down to thee.
W. R THOMPSON. 53
Say, is it that thou loath'st the land
Where palHd Mullicks reign?
Then aid, oh aid, our feeble hands,
Or we shall fight in vain:
For think not that we tamely bow
To be the things we are,
No, they are strong — but Ganges, thou,
Oh ! thou art stronger far.
Lost is our sway, our land, our name,
Low — low beneath the yoke,
Our spirits bend in grief and shame.
Oh ! haste ere they be broke.
From Himalay to Serendeep,
Ascends one endless prayer.
Thou canst not die — thou canst not sleep,
Then where art thou — oh where?
The Rajpoot's Lament.
Shades of the mighty, mighty dead.
Then have ye lived and died in vain?
And are ye fled, for ever fled.
With all the glories of your reign,
And left the world ye used to bless,
In guilt as deep — in need no less —
Than when ye burst upon its guilt,
And half the blood it bore was spilt?
The Keytrie's pride — the Brahmin's god —
Shall both be trampled and o'erthrown?
And the pure land your footsteps trod.
Stoop to a race to you unknown ;
And will ye sleep, for ever sleep,
While good men pray, and brave ones weep,
And native honour's latest gasp.
Is ebbing in the oppressor's grasp?
54 W. F. THOMPSON.
Whose foot is on the Brahmin's land?
A foot the country had not borne.
Whose hand is on the soldier brand?
A hand the soldier holds in scorn.
Whose lance is in the country's heart?
A lance more odious than its smart.
Who fill the thrones ye reared of old?
The slaves of slaves, whose God is gold.
Soft Gunga checks her troubled virave,
And slave-like w^eeps with veiled brow;
'Twas there, 'twas there ye bid us lave,
And will ye, can ye bid us now?
The pomp and pride of native sway,
Our lands, our names have past away.
And will ye never, never aid,
To guard the rights your glory made.
Shades of the mighty, who shall dare
To say ye are not mighty stiU?
Your whispers breathe in every air.
Your spirits move in every thrill.
Dim — thro' the misty gulf of years —
Dim — thro' the glimmering veil of tears —
I see ye — warriors stern and grey,
I see ye — but no other may.
I breathed it to the rushing flood.
The water's murmuring voice replied;
I breathed it to the waving wood,
The conscious branches bowed and sighed;
I told the rock, I told the cloud,
And they returned it doubly loud;
I spoke it in the haunts of men.
And not a voice was heard again.
W. F. THOMPSON. 55
Stupendous spirits — Ye could mould.
And re-create a nation's mind;
And will no whispering voice unfold,
The magic art that rules mankind?
Oh, I have mused on all ye taught,
Till my young heart grew old with thought,
But never yet that sacred gleam
Has reached my soul in thought or dream.
'Tis vain, the task is not for me;
Fly, dreamy hopes and shadowy throne ,
My country's soul I cannot free,
I will be master of my own;
Shades of the mighty — yet, oh yet
Shed o'er this heart the proud regret
That throbs and thrills in every beat,
A little while, and we shall meet.
Tho' ear is deaf, and voice is dumb,
I know the spirit dieth not;
The ocean sleeps, the storm shall come,
When I perchance shall be forgot;
Enough for me If freedom's eyes
Shall glisten where my ashes lie,
And freedom's tardy hand confer
A wreath on him who died for her.
The Mosquito's Song.
'Oh the pleasures of the plains
In Bengal, and in the Rains,
When the climate, damp and warm,
Makes our tiny tribes to swarm
From each puddle, from each tank,
Fringed with vegetation rank;
Whence, 'mid duck-weed hatched, and slime.
In the fullness of good time,
Shuffled off our maggot coil,
Start we into life's turmoil,
Clamorous, winged, and armed for fight.
Speeding quick our eager flight,
Ravenous, in quest of prey.
With the sun's declining ray.
Let us to the Fort repair,
In the Royal Barracks — there.
Sure to find the ruddy Griffin,
Full of beer and full of tiffin.
In the sultry afternoon,
Legs on table lolling; soon
Hies he to his tempting cot,
Stretching him supine ; forgot
Cares and sorrows, scanty pay.
Duns that haunt the livelong day,
All forgot. Anon the book.
That in listless hand he took,
Drops upon his breast, as close his
Languid eyes : he yawns, he dozes ;
Sinks at length in sleep unquiet.
Wild fantastic visions riot.
Flitting o'er his throbbing brain.
Till all is chaos come again!
JAMES YOUNG. 57
Dreams he of pale Hodgson's ghost!
Shouts again the ideal toast!
Lo! the bottle's petticoats
Change to gown of her he doats
Upon: — his youthful village love,
Left to pine while he would rove
Foreign lands and nymphs among.
Soft ! he lists her well known song,
Wood-notes wild, so long, so clear,
Echo in his straining ear!
— Silly dreamer! wild-wood notes
Here be none ! — save from our throats,
Shrill ear-piercing trumps that sound,
While we flit our victim round!
Unsuspecting yet he lies.
Dreaming of fair lady's eyes,
Visionary phantasms bright.
Mocking still his mental sight.
Kisses, — poutings, — true-love token —
Ancient crooked-sixpence broken —
All in gay confusion dance.
Then, the fond, the piercing glance
Her bright eyes' unerring dart.
Winged into his very heart.
Oh the torture ! and the smart !
— Silly dreamer! dart or wing,
Here be none I — save from our throats.
Which with vigorous aim we ply,
As the lubbard wight doth lie,
Flushed with heat, and sleep, and ale,
While our hovering troops assail,
Juicy English cheek and lip;
Thus with oft repeated dip.
In we plunge the sharp proboscis.
Hunger is the best of sauces.
And we lack no cookery,
GrifRn-blood, to relish thee!
58 JAMES YOUNG.
Thus we suck, and gaze, and swill,
Till our reddening bodies fill;
Wing we then our lazy flight.
Snug to roost on giddy height.
Shelf, or book-case, or almirah's
Top. No rest for him ! our virus
Quick ferments! each festering sore
Seems a voice, cries ' Sleep no more !
Gnats have murdered sleep (that knits up
Ravelled sleeve of care!') — He sits up
Startled, — scarce awake, — head bursting, —
— Itching, — scratching, — smarting, — thirsting ;-
Curses deep, and loud, and long,
Yet unsated, chaunt their song.
f Oh the pleasures of the plains
In Bengal, and in the Rains!
The steed paws the ground, with a snort and a neigh,
The Pindaree has mounted, and hied him away;
He has braced on his shield, and his sword by his side.
And forth he has gone, on a foray to ride.
His turban is twisted, and wreathed round his brow,
Its colour as red, as his blood in its glow ;
From his shoulder behind him his carbine is slung,
And light o'er his saddle his long spear is hung.
Loose streams to the wind his white flowing garb,
And gaily bedeck'd is his Dekhani barb ;
To the bells at his neck, that chime as they ride.
His charger is bounding and prancing in pride.
His comrades are joined, they are mounted alike ;
They must drink, they must smoke, ere their tents they will
Their tents did I say? they are spangled and high,
Their couches the ground, and their curtains the sky.
Through the jungle they wend, till they reach the broad
It is shallow enough, and they cross in the gleam
Of a moon shining sweet as the smile on the face
Of the maiden we love, and would die to embrace.
60 JAMES HUTCHINSON.
The river is forded, the frontier is passed,
And they reach the lone village by midnight at last :
Would you gather its fate? In the darkness of night
The forests around it are red in its light.
Its dwellers have fled, in the wild woods to roam;
All roofless and black is the place of their home;
And their daughters, dishonoured, are weeping in vain,
Nor will boast of their pride and their scorning again.
HORACE HAYMAN WILSON.
Vast as a sea the Ganges flows,
And fed by Himalaya's snows,
Or rushing rains, with giant force
Unwearied runs its fated course;
The banks that skirt its lengthened way
Boundless variety display;
The mural height, the level green.
The dangerous rock, the dark ravine,
The barren sand, the fertile mound
With maze of flowery thicket crowned.
The cheerful lawn, or frowning glade.
Embrowned by overhanging shade:
The spacious plain, that waving corn.
Orchards, or fragrant groves adorn;
Whilst towns and hamlets intervene
And gild with life the changing scene.
But nature's chiefest bounties fall
To thy productive fields, Bengal,
It is not that the mountains rise
Here as a pathway to the skies —
Nor desert spreads its dreary tract —
Nor foams the thundering cataract.
Nor gloomy forest stretches, where
The lion prowls or lurks the bear —
Nor angry ocean raves and roars
In tempest on the rocky shores —
Though e'en of these thy wide extent
Some awful glimpses doth present —
62 HORACE HAYMAN WILSON.
But thine own honours fairest show
Where Bhagirathi's waters flow
In many a rich and lovely scene.
Invested with unfading green,
That as revolving seasons run
Still bids defiance to the Sun.
Upon the margin of the river
The leafy grove is verdant ever ;
Dark is the Mango's foliage spread;
Erect the tall Palm lifts its head;
Broad the Banana waves and bright;
Graceful the Bambu bends and light;
Boiling and black the billows flow
The wide spread Indian fig below,
Whose scion branches, many and vast,
Far from the mighty parent cast,
Above the wave extend their shade
In columned arch and long arcade.
And here, by native faith revered,
The Peepul's twisted trunk is reared.
Nor want we animation — rife
Is all around, with busy life.
Upon the bosom of the tide
Vessels of every fabric ride.
The fisher's skifif, the light canoe
That from a single trunk they hew;
The snake and peacock modelled boat
In Eastern pageant sent afloat;
The heavy barge — the ponderous bark
Huge lumbering like another ark:
The Bujra broad, the Bholia trim,
Or Pinnaces that gallant swim
With favouring breeze — or dull and slow
Against the heady current go ;
Creeping along the bank where pace
The crew — a strange amphibious race,
HORACE HAYMAN WILSON. 63
From morn to eve who never tire.
Plodding through bush, and brake, and briar;
Nov^ wading mid-deep in the mud.
Now plunging breast-high in the flood;
Yet as they move, the merry laugh,
And frequent frolic, lighten half
Their labour, till the day expires,
When gleam along the shore the fires
With which contented they prepare,
Their single meal of frugal fare;
Then to repose, at dawn again
To brave the sun, and wind, and rain.
Close to the marge the cattle browse,
Or trail the rudely fashioned ploughs.
The bufifalo, his sides to cool.
Stands buried in the marshy pool.
The wild duck nestles in the sedge ;
The crane stands patient on the edge,
Watching to seize its finny prey;
Whilst high the skylark wings its way,
And in the shadow of a cloud.
Warbles its song — distinct and loud.
Though far removed from human eye.
The songster sails the upper sky.
Scattered across the teeming plain
In groups the peasants glean the grain,
The sickle ply, or wield the hoe,
Or seed for future harvests sow.
Some burthened with their homely ware
Journey to village hat or fair.
And some suspend their toil to mark
Inquisitive the passing bark.
But most where to the river leads,
The ghat, or beaten path proceeds,
A never-ending train collects
Of every caste, and age, and sex.
64 HORACE HAYMAN WILSON.
Grave in the tide the Brahman stands,
And folds his cord, or twirls his hands.
And tells his beads, and all unheard
Mutters a solemn mystic word.
With reverence the Sudra dips,
And fervently the current sips.
That to his humbler hopes conveys
A future life of happier days.
But chief do India's simple daug-hters
Assemble in these hallowed waters,
With vase of classic model laden,
Like Grecian girl or Tuscan maiden,
Collecting thus their urns to fill
From gushing fount or trickling rill;
And still with pious fervour they
To Ganga veneration pay,
And with pretenceless rite prefer
The wishes of their hearts to her.
The maid or matron, as she throws
Champac or lotus, bel or rose,
Or sends the quivering light afloat
In shallow cup or paper boat,
Prays for a parent's peace and wealth.
Prays for a child's success and health.
For a fond husband breathes a prayer,
For progeny their loves to share.
For what of good on earth is given
To lowly life, or hoped in heaven,
And still in quick succession start
Village and hamlet; town and mart,
And ghats that to the stream descend.
And temples where the votaries bend
In homage unto stones and flowers,
Or to less inoffensive powers.
And hark, the sounds of horn and drum
Along the river fitful come.
HORACE HAYMAN WILSON. 65
And cymbal's clang and trumpet's wail
Are mellowed by the wafting gale.
*Tis Durga's festival, and hers
The rites — and now her worshippers
Bring forth the goddess — to and fro
The bands in solemn pageant row.
Hymning her praises, as they sweep
The populous stream ; till in the deep
They clamorous toss at set of sun
The idol — and the rite is done.
Such are the scenes the Ganges shows.
As to the sea it rapid flows :
And all who love the works to scan
Of nature or the thoughts of man,
May here unquestionably find
Pleasure and profit for the mind.
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
The Late Mr. Simms.
Who did not know that Office Jaun of pale Pomona green.
With its drab and yellow lining, and picked out black between.
Which down the Esplanade did go at the ninth hour of the
yVe ne'er shall see it thus again, — Alas ! and well-a-day !
With its bright brass patent axles, and its little hog-maned
And its ever jetty harness, which was always made by Watts,
The harness black and silver, and the ponies of dark grey,
And shall we never see it more, — Alas! and well-a-day!
With its very tidy coachman with a very old grey beard.
And its pair of neat clad sayces, on whom no spot appeared.
Not sitting lazily behind, but running all the way
By Mr. Simms' little coach — Alas! and well-a-day!
And when he reached the counting house he got out at the
And entering the office made just three bows and no more,
Then passing through the clerks he smiled, a sweet smile
and a gay,
And kindly spoke the younger ones — Alas! and well-a-day!
And all did love to see him with his jacket rather long,
It was the way they wore them when good Mr. Simms was
With his Nanke«^n breeches buckled by two gold buckles
And his China tight silk stockings, pink and shiny, well-a-
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 67
,With his little frill like crisped snow, his waistcoat spotless
His cravat very narrow and a very little tight.
And a blue brooch, where, in diamond sparks, a ship at
The gift of Mr. Cruttenden — Alas! and well-a-day!
Then from the press where it abode, he took the ledger stout.
And looked upon it reverently, withinside and without.
Then placed his pencils, rubber, pens and knives in due array.
And Mr. Simms was ready for the business of the day.
And ever to the junior clerks his counsel it was wise,
That they shall loop their I's, and cross their t's, and dot
And honor Messrs. Sheringham, Leith, Badgery and Hay,
Whom he had served for forty years — Alas! and well-a-day!
And a very pleasant running hand good Mr. Simms did write,
His up-strokes were like gossamer, his down strokes black
And his lines all clear and sparkling like a rivulet in May,
Meandered o'er the folios — Alas! and well-a-day!
And daily in a silver dish, as bright as bright could be,
At one o'clock his tiffin came, two sandwiches, or three,
It never came a minute soon, nor a minute did delay,
So punctual were good Mr. Simms' people — well-a-day!
And in the Mango season still a daily basket came.
With fruit as green as emeralds or ruddier than flame ;
By Mr. Simms the sort had been imported from Bombay
And sown and grown beneath his eye — Alas ! and well-a-day I
And when his tiffin it was done, he took a pint precise
Of well cooled soda water, but it was not cooled with ice,
And a little ginger essence (Oxley's) Mr. Simms did say
It comforted his rheumatiz' — Alas! and well-a-day!
68 HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
Then on a Sunday after prayers, while waiting in the porch.
His talk was of the Bishop, and the vestry, and the church;
And two or three select young men would dine with him
To taste his old Madeira, and his curry called Malay.
For famous was the table that good Mr. Simms did keep
With his home fed ducks, his Madras fowls, and gram fed
And the fruits from his own garden, and the dried fish from
Sent up by bold Branch Pilot Stout — Alas! and well-a-day!
And he was full of anecdote, and spiced his prime Pale Ale
With many a cheerful bit of talk, and many a curious tale^
How Dexter ate his buttons off, and in a one horse chay
My Lord Cornwallis drove about — Alas! and well-a-day!
And every Doorga Poojah would good Mr. Simms explore^
The famous river Hoogly up as high as Barrackpore,
And visit the menagerie, and in his pleasant way,
Declare that all the bears were bores — Alas! and well-a-day J
Then, if the weather it was fine, to Chinsura he'd go,
With his nieces three in a Pinnace, and a smart young man
In bright blue coats, and waistcoats, which were sparkling
as the day.
And curly hair, and white kid gloves, a lover like array.
And at Chinsura, they walked about and then they went to
With the ancient merchant Van der Zank, and the widow
Van der Zee,
They were old friends of Mr. Simms, and parting he would
" Perchance we ne'er may meet again " — ^Alas, and well-a-
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 69
At length the hour did come for him, which surely comes
From the beggar in his hovel to the monarch in his hall,
And when it came to Mr. Simms, he gently pass'd away,
As falling into pleasant sleep — Alas, and well-a-day!
And on his face there lingered still a sweet smile and a
His Bible lying by his side, and some roses in his hand;
His spectacles still marked the place where he had read
The words of faith and hope which cheered his spirit on
And many were the weeping friends whp followed him
In many mourning coaches, found by Solitude and Kyte.
And many a circle still laments the good, the kind, the gay,
The hospitable Mr. Simms, — Alas ! and well-a-day !
Calcutta Stanzas for the Month of May.
Happy the man, whose hair and beard
Are glittering stiff with ice and snow,
Whose purple face with sleet is sear'd.
His nose also.
Happy the man whose fingers five
Seem to have left him altogether.
And feet are scarcely more alive
In wintry weather.
And happier he, who heavenly cold.
From warmth and sunshine far away,
Lives till his freezing blood grows old
At Hudson's Bay.
He in a beauteous basin, wrought
Of frozen quicksilver, his feet
May lave in water down to nought
70 HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
The whole year round too, if he pleases,
Far from the sun's atrocious beams
He may, unbaked by burning breezes,
Live on ice creams.
And if for comfort, or for pride,
He wants shirt, breeches, coat, or vest;
Let him but bathe, then step outside,
And Lo — he's drest!
Drest in habiliments of ice,
More bright than those of old put on
At royal birthdays, by the nice
Happy the man, again I sing,
Who thus can freeze his life away,
Far from this hot blast's blustering.
At Hudson's Bay.
Oh that 'twere mine to be so blest.
For while my very bones are grilling,
The thoughts of such a place of rest
Are really thrilling.
Instead of jackets, I would wear
A coat of sleet, with snow lapelles,
Neatly embroidered here and there
Snow shoes should brace my burning feet.
And how I should enjoy a shiver,
While snow I'd drink, and snow I'd eat,
To cool my liver.
But all in vain I sigh for lands
Where happy cheeks with cold look blue.
While here i' the shade the mercury stands
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 71
The Adjutant Bird.
A Bengal Eclogue.
Leave me, my friend — for now they suit right well
The hour — the gloomy scene — and mine own mood :
The rain will not return — too late it fell,
Besides I've a great coat — don't think me rude;
But au revoir — you dine out too — 'tis late;
And the Fitz-Huggenses, you know, don't wait.
Pat, pat — how that mare steps out with the buggy ;
Charles is a judge of horses — so a'nt I,
Whew ! what a night — now damp and chill, now muggy,
And what a scene around and what a sky.
As if sad Nature wove a funeral pall
For one of her worst handyworks — Bengal.
Even as I speak — the driving rain descends.
Not in a gentle sentimental shower.
But one that drenches to the finger ends
In less that half the tenth part of an hour,
Roaring and hissing as it falls — in fact
A specimen of " Heaven born " cataract.
And as it rattles down a mist arises
From out the hot breast of the batter'd ground,
Hiding the " Palaces " of sorts and sizes
That spread in whitewash'd majesty around;
Hiding the city lights, the dome, the fort;
All that is more than three yards off, in short.
And just within that distance, I behold
A figure grizzled and austere, like Time,
Save that 'tis twice as grim, and twice as old,
A creature that must sure have seen the prime
Of the fresh, beautiful earth — and after that
Left Noah's Ark ashore on Ararat.
72 HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
It hath a solemn, sober, staid demeanour,
Like the head usher on a flogging day,
Two glassy eyes, that have no more of keen or
Living glances, than two balls of clay;
And legs like wither'd reeds ; long, white and small.
Fit for the very Genius of Bengal.
Yes, such must be the Genius of the Land;
We all have seen him through the twilight dim
On some tall sepulchre assume his stand.
Silent and motionless, and grey and grim,
As if in gloomy joy he brooded o'er
Those who had come to perish on his shore.
Say I not sooth, thou dull and dingy thing,
Genius, Argeelah, Adjutant, whate'er
Name thou affectest most? — Could I not sing
Of wretchedness as plenteous as the air,
The burning air we breathe? — but I'll not grumble
Though all our hopes each day become more humble.
No — rather now that thou and I together
Are standing by the side of this lone swamp.
Thy smiling home perhaps, and that the weather
Is tolerably cool, though somewhat damp,
Just fit for conversational enjoyments.
Would ask you of your past life and employments.
I've mentioned my opinion of your age,
So, without loss of time, we pass that over,
No doubt you saw King Sudraka, the Sage,
Write of Vansantasena and her lover,
But pass that too — and above all don't bore us
With tales of Alexander and King Porus.
Though thou didst stand by Attock, and beheld
Greek armour glancing in the Indian sun.
Helmet, and crest, and spear, and bossy shield.
Like a bright winding river on the dun
And restless desert — while the air around
Shook with the Macedonian trumpet's sound.
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 73
Ha ! one plumed warrior plunges in the stream,
His horse paws up a cloud of glittering spray,
His broad short sword is flashing like a beam
Of sunshine on a cataract — the array
Wheel round him in a blazing curve — 'tis he !
Olympia's son — the Lord of Victory!
Glory and gore — a dazzling ghastly mist
Forming the fiery halo round his name.
His banners never but by triumph kissed,
The empires, that were counters in his game.
Make the bright bloody jumble which we ponder
In musing o'er the life of Alexander.
Yes, there he stands, who to his golden car
Chained fortune, — scanning with his eagle glances
The iron files of Macedonia's war,
Veterans as tough and fearless as their lances.
And ready right or wrong to have a fling
At good King Porus, here called Bulwunt Sing„
Doubtless, oh Adjutant! thou sawest this,
And also Genghiz Khan and Timoor Beg,
And the stern Lord of Ghuzni ; he whose bliss
Was breaking Shiva's head, or Indra's leg;
But turn to greater heroes — chief of which is
A paunchy looking man with crimson breeches;
As Zoffany has painted — by his side
Stands Jaffier Ally Cawn ; to whom you know
The British warrior, with a modest pride.
Is lending half a sovereignty or so.
Jaffier looks blandly, with a smile paternal.
But nathless wishes Satan had the Colonel.
The Colonel ! — a Napoleon in his sphere,
Grasping as brave, unscrupulous as wise;
A kind of legal, regal buccaneer.
Who treated empires like a Spanish prize ;
Took, spoiled, broke into fragments ; but alive
Or dead, few mate with that same Colonel Clive.
74 HENRY MEREDITH PARKER,
So hasten, tell me, for my soul's on fire
Thinking of those great days of glorious strife.
When Gunga's hollow banks rang with that lyre
And shell of Britain, called the drum and fife ;
Did'st thou behold those heroes who of yore
Batter'd Budge Budge, and took Chandanagore?
Immortal men ; — were not their glorious brows
With laurels, powder and pomatum cover'd,
Besides gold laced cock'd hats; with many rows
Of curls that shook not, though above them hover'd
The wings of Victory? whose first rich fruits
Were shared by folks with tie wigs and jack boots.
Men who prepared ambrosial Sangaree,
And double Sangaree or Sangarorum ;
Now took a fleet, now sold a pound of tea.
Weighed soap, storm'd forts, held princes in terrorem.
Drank, fought, smoked, lied, went home, and good papas,
Gave diamonds to their little boys for taws.
Happy those times, my Adjutant, when " Chiefs "
Ruled Provinces for four half crowns per day,
Yet prospered somehow, even as the sheaves
Which dreaming Pharoah saw. — Fat kine were they.
We are the lean — nor were their gleanings less
Through any freedom of the Indian Press.
Ah why was I not born in those blest days,
Truly the Golden Age of such as came
To live on brandy punch and dare the blaze
Of our Bengally sunshine — 'tis a shame
That all the golden hues which shine in this age
Shine less upon the pocket than the visage.
Ha! dost thou answer! no, it is the sigh
Of a more drear and melancholy blast,
On dusky wings a wilder storm draws nigh,
And from its lair the thunder wakes at last,
A danker mist thicks the dull air of night
And shuts my gaunt companion from my sight.
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 75
But first, one rattle of that bony beak
Rings like a bell funereal through the air,
Saying, as plain as ominous sound can speak,
" Thou curious fool, of thine own doom beware.
Perchance the next grey tomb I make my throne.
If thou stand'st chattering here — may be thine own.**
The Mussulman's Lament over the body;
of Tippoo Sultan.
Wrifien on the spot where he fell.
Light of my faith ! thy flame is quench'd
In this deep night of blood;
The sceptre from thy race is wrenched.
And of the brave who stood
Around thy Musnud, strong and true.
When this day's sunrise on the brow
Of yonder mountains glanced, how few
Are left to weep thee now!
Star of the battle ! thou art set ;
But thou didst not sink down.
As those who could their fame forget,
Before the tempest's frown ;
As those crown'd dastards, who could crave
The mercy of their haughty foes.
Better to perish with the brave.
Than live and reign like those.
No! thou hast to thy battle-bed
Rush'd like thy native sun.
Whose fiercest, brightest rays are shed
When his race is nearest done ;
Where sabres flash'd and vollies rang.
And quickest sped the parting breath.
Thou, from a life of empire, sprang
To meet a soldier's death.
76 HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.
Thy mighty father joyfully
Look'd from his throne on high;
He mark'd his spirit live in thee,
He smiled to see thee die ;
To see thy sabre's last faint sweep
Tinged with a foeman's gore ;
To see thee sink to the hero's sleep,
With thy red wounds all before.
The faithful, in their emerald bowers
The toobah-tree beneath,
Have twined thee of unfading flowers,
The martyr's glorious wreath;
And dark-eyed girls of Paradise,
Their jewell'd kerchiefs wave,
,To welcome to their crystal skies
The Sultan of the brave.
The Return from IncJia.
I sit beside my lonely hearth.
Long years of toil and exile past.
My life is in its twilight path,
Still I have reached my home at last;
But other hands now cull its flowers,
But other footsteps tread its floor,
That clock still chimes the silver hours,
But those who heard it hear no more.
I am a stranger in my hall,
The hearts which made it glad are cold.
Young voices answer to my call,
But not the tones I loved of old;
With happy looks they bid me tell
Some story of the days gone by.
Or speak of those I loved so well,
I can but answer with a sigh.
HENRY MEREDITH PARKER. 77
With smiles they urge me to recall
The memory of their childhood's prime,
For they were happy children all
When last I left my native clime;
But as they speak some cherished trait
Arises with each look and tone,
Of those whose love has past away,
Of those who are for ever gone.
I wander on the breezy hill,
By hazel copse, in dingle green,
I pause beside the gushing rill,
When summer twilight sings serene ;
Each well-remembered scene is there
Fresh as when first it met my sight,
But where are all the feelings, where.
Which made it still more dear than bright?
The harvest moon is rising now
O'er glorious fields of ripened grain.
And on the breeze that cools my brow
The bells of many a harvest wain
Come soft and sweet; but sweeter yet
Yon spire on which the moonshine glows.
That tells me where I shall forget
Life's toils and hopes in death's repose.
DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON.
Lines to the Memory of David Hare.
O'er the vast waste of waters — from a land
Small but renowned — a proud undaunted band,
Stirred with the thirst of conquest and of gold.
Came — traded — triumphed! History never told
Of monarch-merchants — heroes wandering far —
A stranger tale of traffic or of war.
But can the busy mart, the battle field,
The dearest wealth — the brightest triumph yield?
Ah! no: e'en now our generous rulers claim
A prouder guerdon and a purer fame.
Though gold was gained and martial glory won,
They knew their noblest task was not begun.
They held our lands, but could not hold our hearts.
Till, changing force for kindness, arms for arts,
They proffered the rich wisdom of the west.
And poorest minds with priceless treasures blest!
In this divinest duty many a heart.
With holy zeal, hath well sustained its part —
All these our guides — an honour to their land —
To ours a blessing — grateful love command ;
But in the glorious list, beyond compare,
In types of light, behold the name of HARE!
Ah, warm philanthropist! ah, faithful friend!
Thy life devoted to one generous end —
To bless the Hindu mind with British lore,
And truth's and nature's faded lights restore-
DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON. 79
If for a day that lofty aim was crost,
You grieved, like Titus, that a day was lost.
Alas! it is not now a few brief hours
That fate withholds — a heavier grief o'erpowers
A nation whom you loved as if your own —
A life that gave the life of life is gone!
Yet oh! my countrymen, why weep in vain?
If aught may cause an earth-freed spirit pain,
'Tis when it sees in fond hearts left below
An unresigned and unavailing woe.
Be sighs above the grave breathed forth no more;
The gods are deaf when men the past deplore;
But let a friend's true merit best be proved
By imitative zeal in acts he loved.
His memory thus with loftiest lessons rife
May well complete the purpose of his life,
And while our Hindu youth Mind's blessings share
They'll learn to venerate the name of HARE!
To Laha Pennoo : The God of War.
A Khoond War Lyric.
Great God of battles ! Oh, forgive
(For thou our wants and weakness saw,)
If we so long have seemed to live
Regardless of thy glorious law;
Our herds were few, our fields were bare.
Our bravest warriors bowed with care.
Fate wore for us a scowling brow,
And Famine haunted cot and bower.
And some the fever-blasts laid low.
And some the wild beasts dared devour;
Unnerved is many a manly limb.
And many a dauntless eye is dim.
80 DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON,
Oh Laha Pennoo! Lord of Strife!
Oh watch our weapons as thine own!
And at each mark of mortal life
Direct the shaft and hurl the stone;
Make wide the wounds on every frame,
Deface the dead, the living maim.
Oh! let our ponderous axes fall
Like blows of death from tiger-paws.
Or crush bone, flesh, and garb, and all.
As 'twixt the fierce hyena's jaws;
Let arms not ours as brittle be
As long pods of the karta tree.
Each aim misguide, unnerve each hand
Of those to mock our might that dare,
Make all their weapons light as sand,
Or mowa blossoms borne on air ;
Or let our wounds quick dry again,
As blood-drops on the dusty plain.
May every axe wear ruddy hue
As home we come from victory's field;
And while our women, proud and true,
Their stores of sweet refreshment yield.
May neighbouring Beauties seek our bowers.
And yearn to mix their blood with ours.
Our war-gained wealth let all behold,
Brass vessels, herds and scented leaf.
And maids present to parents old
The trophies of our struggle brief;
And fowl and buflfalo and sheep
Thy shrine in sacred blood shall steep.
Oh! Laha Pennoo! God of War!
Not new the favor now we crave;
For thy fierce smile, like lurid star,
Oft led to strife our fathers brave;
And we their sons, when danger lours.
Still hail their honored God and ours!
DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON. 81
^ =To Bera Pennoo : The Earth Goddess.
An Invocation before Human Sacrifice.
Goddess of earth! Dread source of ill!
Thy just revenge o'erwhelms us still
For rites unpaid;
But oh! forgive! — Our stores are small,
Our lessened means uncertain all.
Denied thine aid.
Goddess that taught mankind to feel
Poison in plants, and death in steel —
A fearful lore —
Forgive — forgive! and ne'er again
Shall we neglect thy shrine to stain
With human gore !
Let plenty all our land o'erspread.
Make green the ground with living bread.
Our pastures fill
So close with cattle side by side
That no bare spot may be descried
From distant hill.
And when unto the broad flat pool.
Their thirst to quench, their sides to cool,
Our herds are led;
So num'rous make them that no form
Of fish or frog, or toad or worm,
Survive their tread.
So fill with sheep each ample fold
That he who digs man-deep the mould,
Their compost rare.
Meet not a stone. May swine abound
Until their plough-like snouts the groimd
For seed prepare.
82 DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON.
So fill our cots with childhood's din
The voice be rarely heard within,
And ne'er without ;
Each thatch with crowded poultry hide,
Give jars that bruise the fountain's side
With metal stout.
Oh! Bera Pennoo! once again
Protect us in the grove and plain
From beasts of prey;
Nor let sly snake or tiger bold
Fright children, save in stories old
Of Fathers grey.
Oh ! make it each man's only care
Yearly to build a store-room fair
For goods unspent;
And we thy rites shall duly pay: —
Lo! one bought victim now we slay —
One life present.
The Final Toast.
A Masonic Song.
"Are your glasses charged in the West and South?" the
Worshipful Master cries;
"They are charged in the West," — "They are charged in the
South," are the Wardens' prompt replies;
"Then to our final toast to-night your glasses fairly drain —
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
The Mason's social brotherhood around the festive board
Reveals a wealth more precious far than selfish miser's
They freely share the priceless stores that generous hearts
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON. 83
We work like Masons free and true, and when our task is
A merry song and a cheering glass are not unduly won ;
And only at our farewell pledge is pleasure touched with
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
Amidst our mirth we drink "To all poor Masons o'er the
On every shore our flag of love is gloriously unfurled;
We prize each brother, fair or dark, who bears no moral
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
The Mason feels the noble truth the Scottish peasant told.
That rank is but the guinea's stamp, the man himself's the
With us the rich and poor unite and equal rights maintain —
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
Dear Brethren of the mystic tie, the night is waning fast —
Our duty's done — our feast is o'er — this song must be our last,
Good-night — good-night — once more, once more, repeat the
farewell strain —
"HAPPY TO MEET— SORRY TO PART— HAPPY TO
The Adjutant and the Crow.
Once on a time, the story goes,
A flock of noisy idle crows,
Of what to do, for very want.
Got round about an Adjutant,
And tried who most could tease this king
Of all the birds, that ply the wing
From muddy Hooghly's swampy shores..
To Delhi's princely halls and doors.
At first, the crows, at distance due,
Around the stately giant drew,
And hopp'd,, and caw'd their very best
To break their sovereign's noon-tide rest:
But he, unmindful of such fry.
With in-drawn neck, and half-closed eye
And only one leg on the ground,
Enjoy'd the creaking hackery's sound,
Which reach'd him on the sunny bank,
LoU-diggee of thy spacious tank:
And, every now and then, he'd wake,
And just a dainty morsel take
Of a dead cat, which he had found
That morning near the burying ground.
By suff 'ranee, soon much bolder grown.
The crows thought all the fun their own.
One, at his tail, began the attack,
Another perch'd upon his back;
And while a third beside him sat,
A fourth was trying to steal his cat,
JOHN DUNBAR. 85
Incens'd at such unlook'd-for jokes,
The bird let fly some random strokes,
Disabled two unlucky crows.
And dealt, besides, some awkward blows;
But scarce had time to rest, before
The crows began to tease once more ;
For coming now, in greater numbers,
They fairly spoilt his kingship's slumbers.
That little imps, like these, should dare
To pass a joke, was something rare ;
But that they'd chosen him to be
Food for their mirth, was far too free ;
And thinking thus, he judg'd it best,
To put the thing at once to rest,
That crows might, thenceforth, learn to know
How much he differed from a crow;
So, just as one unlucky wight
Was landing from his downward flight,
He open'd wide his ample bill,
And soon the crow was snug and still
Within that dark and dreary bourne,
Whence Cats and Crows can ne'er return.
From this let every jester learn
His proper objects to discern ;
It is not safe to pass one's jokes
On Kings, and Queens, and such-like folks;
For though the great may relish wit,
They may not choose to furnish it ;
And jesters who have any sense.
Will seldom jest at their expense.
The Bumper of Claret.
Now for the hour that is sweetest of all, Sirs,
'Tis sacred to mirth, to good humour, and wine,
Fairer than any that lazily crawl, Sirs,
Thro' dullardized space in the garish sunshine ;
Haste then, and let not an instant be wasted,
For fleetly flies Time, and we can but ill spare it,—
To do it due honour or ever 'tis past yet.
Baptise its arrival in bumpers of Claret.
Then here's to the being still free and light-hearted^
Who ne'er cares o'er the woes of this world to repine.
But tho' he and false Fortune be long ago parted.
Still moistens his woes with a bumper of wine.
Soother of care and promoter of revels,
What'er be your ills, Claret ne'er comes amiss;
Take my receipt and the grimmest blue devils
Will beam like Hope's self, if ye plunge them in this;
Not the cheek of a beauty who saints might beguile. Sirs,
Her form nor her face, I can freely declare it
Could look now half so sweet in my eyes, as the smile. Sirs,
That dimples the cheek of my bumper of Claret.
I once heard a tale — from my Grannie I took it, Sirs,
How the great globe was erst covered with rain,
When all our poor dads, like blind pups in a bucket, Sirs,
Sank, and, as she said, ne'er came up again;
Ever since that, in respect to their memory,
Water I've hated — O Lord I can't bear it !
And I'm never myself after mentioning them, ere I
Wash out the thought with a bumper of Claret.
HENRY TORRENS. 87
There was once an old sage — 'twas some d — d fool or other —
'Tis I don't know, on his name I can't fix —
But he wrote nine huge folios and tried to discover how
Solids and fluids most properly mix —
I've found out the secret so long from his view hid,
I found it — and let every friend I have share it, —
The properest mixture of solid and fluid.
Is a dinner like this one well washed down with Claret.
Then here's to the being still free and light-hearted,
Who ne'er cares o'er the woes of this world to repine,
But tho' he and false Fortune be long ago parted,
Still moistens his woes with a bumper of wine.
" A ballad dedicated to the Junior Members of the Bengal Civil
Service and intended to have been sung at the Albion Tavern
on the occasion of a recent Viceregal Inauguration
No, neither sinecure, nor mastership in chancery,
Nor post, nor place, nor pension for a younger son !
Hume, Grote, and vile Lord John have dished our only
chance or I
Might help you, but our halcyon days are almost gone ;
A failing bar, a falling bench, and, what must most disgust
No hope for briefless barristers, no hole for Lord Augustuses :
The fact is, dear Sir Robert, (to conceal it were hypocrisy)
Lord Brougham and Vaux, the man that talks, has swamped
Thus you may see neither sinecure nor chancery.
Nor post, nor place, avail us now for younger sons.
88 HENRY TORRENS.
But (as the boys must eat) let's see what's on the tapis
With army full and navy dull, what can be said?
Join the Canadian O'Connell, Monsieur Papineau,
Or Cavaliero Evans's Isle of Dogs brigade?
Command King Otho's grenadiers (supposing that he's got
Or live on hope and kangaroo near much-belauded Botany:
Try Sidney, Perth, Van Dieman, or (I'd have you keep on
all an eye)
My cousin Colonel Torrens' new pound-an-acre colony?
Here then's some hope without sinecure or chancery,
To pick up something decent for a younger son.
Yet 'tis cold comfort, for the price-makes-value principle
May suit well-dinnered theorists, but won't suit you;
He who eats may argue, but say how is he convincible.
Who has to prove in person if the fact be true?
You'll send Bill there? — he must go somewhere — yet,
Sir Robert, that I call,
Merely making him a victim to economists dogmatical:
No, with your backstairs interest (than which nothing better
The potentates by patent at the large house near Thread-
They (worthy gentlemen) sans sinecure or chancery.
Will give you quid pro quo, and aid a younger son.
Yes, Bill must go, for see how great our population is
With anti-nuptial Malthusites in dire dismay!
Miss Martineau's preventive check, Sir, now our sole
Yet flesh and blood is flesh and blood say what you may: •
Bill's a clever chap, too, and can turn his hand to any thing,
Don't forget you can't afford to furnish him a yearly income ;
HENRY TORRENS. 89
As Bob, your eldest born, alas ! his cash at Rouge et
Let Billy broil in Bundelcund to balance Bobby's mortgages.
Thus, think no more, my friend, of sinecure or chancery,
We'll humanise the Hindoos with our younger sons.
Quick, though be quick, all the youngster's doubts anticipate,
Heat, tigers, liver, cholera, in that far land;
Words, a few words, somewhat plausible will dissipate
Such triflng fears which never in his way should stand:
If you find your rhetoric unequal to effect or do it.
Hold your tongue, and let your friend the I — H —
D — r — ct — r do it:
He with glance paternal, which unused to gibe or scoff is,
Will humbug as sublimely as a trained recruiting officer.
Trust, trust to him (hang your sinecure or chancery,)
He'll dispose to best advantage of a younger son.
Hark ! only hark ! with what bland and cool complacency
He numbers o'er the blessing of the great C. S. —
Tells what they were, just perhaps by way of decency
Allowing now they may, indeed, be somewhat less ;
" Still though credit, fame, rupees, and such like things in
Wait for ever on the E — t I — n C — y's civilians:
If, dear Bill, you keep from debt, you soon may see yourself
Immortalised by Chantrey like our great Mountstuart
Sure, this is better. Sir, than sinecure or chancery,
Thus to gudgeonize at second-hand a younger son !
" Jhen as to fortune why, convinced of this, dear Bill, I am.
About twelve years will see you home, quite at your ease :
Since, too, we've done away the College of Fort William,
Both marriages and debt are much on the decrease :
90 HENRY TORRENS.
Also we've adopted (lest you should not prove obedient
When ordered from Calcutta) this most excellent expedient;
Writers very oft are packed in palanquins (like cages)
And thus sent off to learn Oordoo with some upcountry
Sure, this is better. Sir, than sinecure or chancery,
Such care ('tis quite parental) of our younger sons!
"All you've to learn are some few dialects, (you'll do it; if
You don't why you're deported) in about a year:
That's for you writers, but such knowledge is intuitive
In soldiers, old or young — at least that's what we hear:
Ensigns, day by day, poor boys, dragged roaring from their
Forced to rule whole districts, hit or miss, surmise and
Meanwhile you, lucky dog, in happy ease your bile
As seventh sub-assistant in some excellent collectorate ! "
Who would wish for sinecure or mastership in chancery.
With such immense advantages for younger sons?
Here he stops: 'twere time he should, for Billy might look
cross upon it.
Had he heard his Mentor by mistake rehearse
The orthodox Bentinckian creed with Mr. Ross's gloss upon
Here it is for you, though. Sir, in doggerel verse.
" All but B. C. S. collectors for their offices sufficient are !
All moonsiffs are immaculate, all judges inefficient are !
No military favourite (whatever his condition) errs !
And colonels of artillery are heaven-born commissioners !" ^
Mum though, compared with joys of sinecure or
This might turn out discouraging to younger sons.
HENRY TORRENS. 91
No, let him have just enough of these and other things
To mystify, not satisfy, his anxious mind;
You'll see 'tis best in uncertainty to smother things.
As soon as he's in Hindostan the truth he'll find.
If after all an Indian life Bill be not quite decided for,
Never mind, at any rate a younger son's provided for:
If averse he feel, when first by heat oppressed or thinned,
He'll (take my w^ord) get used ere long, as eels do when
they're skinned, to it.
Thus without sinecure or mastership in chancery.
Here's excellent provision for our younger sons!
JOHN WILLIAM KAYE.
Lines Written on Recovering from
Sickness, September, 1834.
I stood upon the shores of Hindustan,
A solitary man;
And a voice came pealing across the sea,
Unheard by all but me ;
And the voice said "Up ; and be gone my son,
This land is not for thee.
"Why hast thou left thine own sweet country's bowers.
And all its world of flowers?
Why hast thou left a home of quiet bliss
For such a clime as this?
Up ; and begone, my son, and quit this land ;
Thou know'st not what it is.
"Why should'st thou leave a shore, where all is green,
Fresh, lovely, and serene ;
To seek a country far across the sea
Where winds blow parchingly.
And grim disease comes stalking o'er the plain,
Ready to light on thee."
"Dost thou seek glory?— Why abroad then roam?
Have we not that at home?
Dost thou seek riches? — Oh, believe me. Son,
That such a goal when won
Will not repay thee for the weary race
Thou, seeking it, hast run."
JOHN WILLIAM KAYE. 93
But stubbornness was in my heart ; and I
Turn'd away silently:
Yet still I could but hear the warning voice —
" Methinks, thou dost rejoice
In this thine exile " — then I answer made
"Alas! 'twas not my choice."
Much did I marvel what the voice could be,
That thus importuned me;
And I cried out — " Those tones, oh ! whose are they
That now I hear — oh ! say :
Me-thought at first it was my mother's voice:
That thought has died away;
" And now I know not " — Then the voice replied
" I am thy friend — thy guide —
Thou hast none such throughout this teeming earth;
E'en from thy very birth,
I have watched o'er thee ; and I charge thee now,
Reseek thy father's hearth."
Then sickness came upon me : and I lay
For many a weary day,
Cursing the hour, when first I saw the light:
At morn I pray'd for night,
And when night came I long'd for day to burst
Upon my straining sight.
Then I had visions, though I never slept.
But aye my senses kept —
Wild, troubled visions which I could not quell,
Although I knew right well.
That my distempered brain saw many things
Which were invisible.
And as I lay upon the bed of pain,
I heard the voice again ;
"My son, dost thou believe me?" — and I cried
" Oh ! my best friend — my guide —
Whatever thou mayest be, relieve me, and
Thou shalt be deified."
94 JOHN WILLIAM KAYE.
Then the voice said — "Thou needest not repine,
The hand, which smote, is mine ;
And I smite whom I love.— Yet I will save
Thy body from the grave;
And when thou standest up, thou wilt regard
The counsel which I gave."
And out I spake — " Whatever thou may'st be
Who thus dost counsel me —
Thou unembodied, formless eloquence,
Whence comest thou — oh whence?"
And the voice answered in the gentlest tones
"My name is PROVIDENCE."
WILLIAM HENRY ABBOTT.
The Chee-Chee Ball.
The Chee-Chees held high festival in old Domingo's Hall,
And I was there, tho' I was not invited to the ball;
But they receiv'd me kindly, all owing, as I trust.
To my appearance proving me one of the " upper crust."
And merrily I pass'd the time, although 'twas somewhat
I danced like mad each polka, with lots of heel and toe:
For Chee-Chees think that polkas are very like Scotch reels.
And that to dance them properly you must kick up your
And there was one, a petite belle, a modest little girl.
Her hair was twisted down her cheeks in many a spiral curl;
Her teeth were polish'd ivory, her eyes were very bright.
And the little thing look'd blacker from being dress'd in
And ever as I saw this girl, I mark'd a little man
Whom lovingly she ogled behind her pretty fan:
They always danced together, or, as far as I could see.
When they couldn't dance together they stood up vis-a-vis.
Now while the supper disappear'd, I sought for fresher air,
Hy nose 'mid Kentish hop-grounds rear'd is not the nose
The scent of oil of cocoanut with that of bad perfume.
And the odour of hot dishes in a densely crowded room.
96 WILLIAM HENRY ABBOTT.
And while I stroU'd alone outside I started at the sound
Of whispering voices near me — I turn'd and gazed around;
Yes, there they were, that happy pair, their steps they slowly
Her arm was on his shoulder, and his was round her waist;
And, wandering by thus lovingly, their words fell on my ear, —
For he had slightly raised his voice, not thinking I was near,
And the very moon look'd clearer, and brighter shone each
As the little man imploringly said — " Betsy, bolo hah ! "
I turn'd and quickly left the spot, I did not like to stay,
To be, as I must else have been, in those two lovers' way;
(To spoil such sport has ever been from my intention far)
And as I walk'd away I heard her gently murmur " Hah."
R. T. H. GRIFFITH.
The Suppliant Dove.
Chased by a hawk, there came a dove
With worn and weary wing,
And took her stand upon the hand
Of Kasi's noble king.
The monarch smoothed her ruffled plumes.
And laid her on his breast ;
And cried, " No fear shall vex thee here,
Rest, pretty egg-born, rest !
Fair Kasi's realm is rich and wide,
With golden harvests gay,
But all that's mine will I resign
Ere I my guest betray."
But, panting for his half-won spoil,
The hawk was close behind.
And with wild eye and eager cry
Came swooping down the wind :
"This bird," he cried, "my destined prize,
'Tis not for thee to shield:
'Tis mine by right and toilsome flight
O'er hill and dale and field.
Hunger and thirst oppress me sore.
And I am faint with toil:
Thou should'st not stay a bird of prey.
Who claims his rightful spoil.
98 R. T. H. GRIFFITH.
They say thou art a glorious king,
And justice is thy care;
Then justly reign in thy domain,
Nor rob the birds of air."
Then cried the king : " A cow or deer
For thee shall straightway bleed,
Or let a ram or tender lamb
Be slain, for thee to feed.
Mine oath forbids me to betray
My little twice-born guest:
See, how she clings, with trembling wings.
To her protector's breast."
"No flesh of lambs," the hawk replied,
"No blood of deer for me;
The falcon loves to feed on doves.
And such is Heaven's decree.
But if affection for the dove
Thy pitying heart has stirred,
Let thine own flesh my maw refresh,
Weighed down against the bird."
He carved the flesh from off his side.
And threw it in the scale.
While women's cries smote on the skies
With loud lament and wail.
He hacked the flesh from side and arm,
From chest and back and thigh,
But still above the little dove ^
The monarch's scale stood high.
He heaped the scale with piles of flesh.
With sinews, blood, and skin.
And when alone was left him bone
He threw himself therein.
R. T. H. GRIFFITH. 99
Then thundered voices through the air;
The sky grew black as night ;
And fever took the earth that shook
To see that wondrous sight.
The blessed Gods, from every sphere,
By Indra led, came nigh;
While drum and flute and shell and lute
Made music in the sky.
They rained immortal chaplets down,
Which hands celestial twine,
And softly shed upon his head
Pure Amrit, drink divine.
Then God and Seraph, Bard and Nymph
Their heavenly voices raised.
And a glad throng with dance and song
The glorious monarch praised.
They set him on a golden car
That blazed with many a gem ;
Then swiftly through the air they flew.
And bore him home with them.
Thus Kasi's lord, by noble deed,
Won Heaven and deathless fame;
And when the weak protection seek
From thee, do thou the same.
Who is this that driveth near.
Heralded by sound of fear?
Red his flag, the lightning's glare
Flashing through the murky air :
Pealing thunder for his drums,
Royally the monarch comes.
100 R. T. H. GRIFFITH.
See, he rides, amid the crowd.
On his elephant of cloud.
Marshalling his kingly train :
Welcome, O thou Lord of Rain!
Gathered clouds as black as night
Hide the face of heaven from sight,
Sailing on their airy road.
Sinking with their watery load;
Pouring down a flood of tears ;
Pleasant music to our ears.
Woe to him whose love's away;
He must mourn, while all are gay.
Every cooling drop that flows
Swells the torrent of his woes.
If he raise his tearful eye,
INDRA'S Bow, that spans the sky,
Strung with lightning, hurls a dart
Piercing through his lonely heart :
For the clouds, in fancy's dream.
Belted with the lightning's gleam.
Conjure up the flashing zone
Of the maid he calls his own ;
And the lines of glory there
Match the gems she loves to wear.
Earth, what dame has gems like thine.
When thy golden fire-flies shine?
When thy buds of emerald green
Deck the bosom of their Queen?
Look upon the woods, and see
Bursting with new life each tree.
Look upon the river side,
Where the fawns in lilies hide.
See the peacocks hail the rain.
Spreading wide their jewelled train:
They will revel, dance, and play
In their wildest joy to-day.
What delight our bosom fills.
As we gaze upon the hills
R. T. H. GRIFFITH. 101
Where those happy peacocks dance,
And the silver streamlets glance,
And the clouds, enamoured, rest,
Like a crown, upon the crest
Of that hill that fainting lay
'Neath the burning summer ray.
While the freshening streams they shed
Glorify his woody head.
Bees, that round the lily throng,
Soothe us with their drowsy song;
Towards the lotus-bed they fly;
But the peacock, dancing by.
Spreads abroad his train so fair.
That they cling, deluded, there.
Oh, that breeze ! his breath how cool !
He has fanned the shady pool:
He has danced with bending flowers,
And kissed them in the jasmine bowers;
Every sweetest plant has lent
All the riches of its scent,
And the cloud who loves him flings
Cooling drops upon his wings.
HENRY GEORGH KEENE.
Clive's Dream before the Battle of
" The majority of the council pronounced against fighting,
and Clive declared his concurrence with the majority. But scarcely
had the meeting broken tip than he was himself again. He retired
alone under the shade of some trees and passed near an hour there
in thought. He came back determined to put everything to the
hazard, and gave orders that all should be in readiness for passing
the river on the morrow." — Macaulay.
Beneath the thick old mang-o-trees the trunks are growing-
The night-hawk screams a bolder note, and wheels a wider
Far to the right, all ghastly white, thick tents are dimlv seen;
Barbaric music faintly wails, the river runs between;
All blood-red on the western verge the skirts of twilight lie,
And two pale horns from the east go slowly up the sky.
Who walks at such an hour in the strange garb of the Frank,
And flings himself in gloomy guise on yonder grassy bank;
And mutters oft — " 'Twere madness, sure, with such a force
To bide the brunt while yet the Moor unbroken holds his
In hope to gain Moorshedabad or Patna's distant towers ? "
Sore labour has that leader proved, but toil has worn him less
Than cares which weighed, and nigh dismayed his soul with
For stronger is the chief to do, than steady to endure.
And till to-day the swift with him has ever been the sure.
HENRY GEORGE KEENE. 103
But now is come a direr strait than e'er the little band
Have known since first their venturous feet have trod this
The blood-stained rake, the tiger-prince, that laid their city
And slew their best and bravest by a cold-blood coward's
He marches now with all his force, and boasts, in drunken glee,
To drive the pale-faced traders down before him to the sea;
And well may those stout strangers rest content his speed
Or trust to wait till cools his hate, or his armies melt away.
Now sinks the din from either camp, and not a sound is heard
Except the roar of hungry beast, or scream of prowling bird ;
And Clive still lies extended ; but no more he mutters now,
For sleep has sealed his weary eyes, and soothed his aching
What changing cloud, what wreathing shapes float through
that slumberer's breast?
What voices of vague augury, rejoicing or distrest?
While underneath and over all the tissue is of gore.
The crimson coat, the meteor flag, the hue of England's war.
The tiger-prince flies fast away, the foe shout in his rear.
The echo falls on Delhi's walls, and rocky Jessulmere;
The wild Mahratta hosts are broke, the proud Rohilla yields ;
High kings are bending on their thrones, and peasants in
See Wellesley in deathless fight, see beams of glory take
The comely head of Combermere, the gallant crest of Lake,
The bayonet-push, the sabre-charge, through every realm
From far Nepal to Cabul's heights and plains of sunny Sindh;
The red flood creeps from east to west, as goes the mighty
To where in disappointment turned the hosts of Macedon;
From Martaban, from Comorin, to where Hydaspes flows.
Or holy Himalaya hoards her immemorial snows.
104 HENRY GEORGE KEENE.
Sunlike it creeps ; a flood of light, with blessings in its train ;
The darkened land, the barren land, shall ne'er be so again.
O Western light ! O light of blood ! O hue of England's war !
He starts to life with sudden bound, to speak of peace no more.
" Ho ! call the chiefs ; ho ! bid the men to gather on the lawn,
Prepare the boats — in silence all — we cross before the dawn."
But those who heard the welcome word, still wondered that
he said —
"Perplexed, I ween, my rest has been, but God is for the
Drinking No Sin.
Let no good soul be thirsty,
While I have wine to spare.
Let no brave heart be careful,
While I am free from care.
So bring the jugs and glasses
And let the lads come in;
There's not a man of all their clan
Who thinks good liquor a sin.
The Captain must have brandy
To warm his ancient blood;
The Doctor likes his negus
And be sure you make it good;
But the red red wine of Bordeaux
The parson's praise will win.
For he's not the man that will, or can
Pronounce good liquor a sin.
The fire unto the wine, boys,
A merrier lustre lends,
As, basking in its sunshine.
We drink to absent friends ;
For morning, or repentance,
We will not care a pin;
There's not a man of all our clan
Who makes his liquor a sin.
The Song of Kalindi.
The fresh wind blows from northern snows;
The nights are dank with dew;
A mound of fire the Simal glows ;
The young rice shoots anew;
In mornings cool from reedy pool
Up springs the whistling crane ;
The wild fowl fly through sunset sky;
The sweet juice fills the cane.
Come, Krishna, from the tyrant proud
How long shall virtue flee?
The lightning loves the evening cloud,
And I love thee.
The breeze moves slow with thick perfume
From every mango grove;
Prom coral tree to parrot bloom
The black bees questing rove ;
The koil wakes the early dawn,
He calls the spring all day;
The jasmine smiles by glade and lawn;
The lake with buds is gay.
Come, Krishna! leave Vaikuntha's bower;
Do thou our refuge be ;
The koil loves the mango flower.
And I love thee.
Low from the brink the waters shrink;
The deer all sniff for rain:
The panting cattle search for drink
Cracked glebe and dusty plain ;
106 WILLIAM WATERFIELD.
The whirlwind, like a furnace blast,
Sweeps clouds of darkening sand;
The forest flames ; the beasts aghast
Plunge huddling from the land.
Come, Krishna! come, beloved one!
Descend and comfort me :
The lotus loves the summer sun,
And I love thee.
With dancing feet glad pea-fowl greet
Bright flash and rumbling cloud;
Down channels steep red torrents sweep;
The frogs give welcome loud;
From branch and spray hang blossoms gay ;
The wood has second birth ;
No stars in skies, but lantern-flies
Seem stars that float to earth.
Come, Krishna ! in our day of gloom
Be thou our Kalpa tree :
The wild bee loves the Padma bloom,
And I love thee.
The skies are bright with cloudless light,
Like silver shells that float ;
The stars and moon loom large by night;
The lilies launch their boat;
Fair laughs the plain with ripened grain ;
With birds resounds the brake:
Along the sand white egrets stand;
The wild fowl fill the lake.
Come, Krishna ! let thy servants soon
Thy perfect beauty see:
The water-lily loves the moon.
And I love thee.
The morning mist lies close and still ;
The hoar-frost gems the lea ;
The dew falls chill ; the wind blows shrill ;
The leaves have left the tree ;
WILLIAM WATERFIELD. 107
The crops are gone ; the fields are bare ;
The deer pass grazing by;
And plaintive through the twilight air
Is heard the curlew's cry.
Come, Krishna ! come, my lord, my own !
From prison set me free :
The chakravaki pines alone,
As I for thee.
The Song of the Koil.
O youths and maidens rise and sing!
The Koil is come who leads the Spring:
The buds that were sleeping his voice have heard,
And the tale is borne on by each nesting bird.
The trees of the forest have all been told;
They have donned their m< ntles of scarlet and gold;
To welcome him back they are bravely dressed,
But he loves the blossoming mango best.
The Koil is come, glad news to bring!
On the blossoming mango he rests his wing;
Though its hues may be dull, it is sweet, oh! sweet,
And its shade and its fruit the wanderer greet.
The Koil is come, and the forests ring:
He has called aloud to awake the Spring,
Spring the balmy, the friend of Love,
The bodiless god who reigns above.
Oh ! sad were the hearts of the gods that day
When the worlds all mourned the oppressor's sway;
When the oracle promised deliverance none
Till Shiva the wrathful should lend his son.
108 WILLIAM WATERFIELD.
But archly does young-eyed Kama smile
On those who would foil him by force or by guile;
And his keenest shaft to the string he laid,
As he called to that presence the mountain-maid.
The love-shaft flew from the bow-string fast,
As the child of the snows in her beauty passed;
And the cream-white lotus blushed rosy red
Where the blood of the god from his wound was shed.
Oh! sharp is the arrowy blossom's smart,
For the mango flower ne'er missed the heart;
And the work of the gods is fairly done,
And help shall arise out of Shiva's son.
But woe for that image of loveliness, woe!
Which the worlds of creation no longer shall know;
In Shiva's first wrath at the breach of his vow,
Consumed by the flame-darting eye of his brow.
But the flames could not weaken Immortal Might;
He is born in the heart in the spring-time bright.
Whose is the breast where the god shall dwell?
O youths and maidens, you can tell.
SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL
Mors Janua Vitae.
I am the God of the sensuous fire
That moulds all Nature in forms divine;
The symbols of death and of man's desire,
The springs of change in the world, are mine;
The organs of birth and the circlet of bones,
And the light loves carved on the temple stones.
I am the lord of delights and pain,
Of the pest that killeth, of fruitful joys;
I rule the currents of heart and vein;
A touch gives passion, a look destroys;
In the heat and cold of my lightest breath
Is the might incarnate of Lust and Death.
If a thousand altars stream with blood
Of the victims slain by the chanting priest,
Is a great God lured by the savoury food?
I reck not of worship, or song, or feast;
But that millions perish, each hour that flies,
Is the mystic sign of my sacrifice.
Ye may plead and pray for the millions born ;
They come like dew on the morning grass;
Your vows and vigils I hold in scorn.
The soul stays never, the stages pass;
All life is the play of the power that stirs
In the dance of my wanton worshippers.
1 10 SIR ALFRED COM YN LYALL.
And the strong swift river my shrine below,
It runs, like man, its unending course
To the boundless sea from eternal snow;
Mine is the Fountain — and mine the Force
That spurs all nature to ceaseless strife ;
And my image is Death at the gates of Life.
In many a legend and many a shape,
In the solemn grove and the crowded street,
I am the Slayer whom none escape;
I am Death trod under a fair girl's feet;
I govern the tides of the sentient sea
That ebbs and flows to eternity.
And the sum of the thought and the knowledge of man
Is the secret tale that my emblems tell;
Do ye seek God's purpose, or trace His plan?
Ye may read your doom in my parable:
For the circle of life in its flower and its fall
Is the writing that runs on my temple wall.
O Race that labours, and seeks, and strives,
With thy faith, thy wisdom, thy hopes and fears,
Where now is the future of myriad lives?
Where now is the creed of a thousand years?
Far as the Western spirit may range,
It finds but the travail of endless change;
For the earth is fashioned by countless suns,
And planets wander, and stars are lost,
As the rolling flood of existence runs
From light to shadow, from fire to frost.
Your search is ended, ye hold the keys
Of my inmost ancient mysteries.
Now that your hands have lifted the veil,
And the crowd may know what my symbols mean,
Will not the faces of men turn pale
At the sentence heard, and the vision seen
Of strife and sleep, of the soul's brief hour,
And the careless tread of unyielding Power?
SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL. Ill
Though the world repent of its cruel youth,
And in age grow soft, and its hard law bend,
Ye may spare or slaughter; by rage or ruth
All forms speed on to the far still end;
For the gods who have mercy, who save or bless,
Are the visions of man in his hopelessness.
Let my temples fall, they are dark with age,
Let my idols break, they have stood their day;
On their deep hewn stones the primeval sage
Has figured the spells that endure alway;
My presence may vanish from river and grove,
But I rule for ever in Death and Love.
The Land of Regrets.
" Yea, they thought scorn of that pleasant land."
What far-reaching Nemesis steered him
From his home by the cool of the sea?
When he left the fair country that reared him,
When he left her, his mother, for thee,
That restless, disconsolate worker
Who strains now in vain at thy nets,
O sultry and sombre Noverca!
O Land of Regrets!
^What lured him to life in the tropic?
Did he venture for fame or for pelf?
Did he seek a career philanthropic?
Or simply to better himself?
But whate'er the temptation that brought him,
Whether piety, dullness, or debts.
He is thine for a price, thou hast bought him,
O Land of Regrets!
112 SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL.
He did list to the voice of a siren,
He was caught by the clinking of gold.
And the slow toil of Europe seemed tiring.
And the grey of his fatherland cold;
He must haste to the gardens of Circe ;
What ails him, the slave, that he frets
In thy service? O Lady sans merci !
O Land of Regrets !
From the East came the breath of its odours
And its heat melted soft in the haze,
While he dimly descried thy pagodas,
O Cybele, ancient of days;
Heard the hum of thy mystic processions,
The echo of myriads who cry.
And the wail of their vain intercessions,
Through the bare empty vault of the sky.
Did he read of the lore of thy sages?
Of thy worships by mountain and flood?
Did he muse o'er thy annals? the pages
All blotted with treason and blood;
Thy chiefs and thy dynasties reckon?
Thy armies — he saw them come forth
O'er the wide stony wolds of the Dekhan,
O'er the cities and plains of the North.
He was touched with the tales of our glory.
He was stirred by the clash and the jar
Of the nations who kill con amore.
The fury of races at war;
'Mid the crumbling of royalties rotting.
Each cursed by a knave or a fool.
Where kings and fanatics are plotting,
He dreamt of a power and a rule;
Hath he come now, in season, to know theer
Hath he seen, what a stranger forgets.
All the graveyards of exiles below thee,
O Land of Regrets!
SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL. 113
Has he learnt how thy honours are rated?
Has he cast his accounts in thy school?
With the sweets of authority sated,
Would he give up his throne to be cool?
Doth he curse Oriental romancing,
And wish he had toiled all his day,
At the Bar, or the Banks, or financing.
And got damned in a common-place way?
Thou hast racked him with duns and diseases.
And he lies, as thy scorching winds blow,
Recollecting old England's sea breezes
On his back in a lone bungalow;
At the slow coming darkness repining,
How he girds at the sun till it sets,
As he marks the long shadows declining
O'er the Land of Regrets.
Let him cry, as thy blue devils seize him,
O step-mother, careless as Fate,
He may strive from thy bonds to release him.
Thou hast passed him his sentence — Too Late;
He has found what a blunder his youth is.
His prime what a struggle, and yet
Has to learn of old age what the truth is
In the Land of Regret.
The Old Pindaree.
Allah is great, my children, and kind to a slave like me ;
The great man's tent is gone from under the peepul tree :
With his horde of hungry retainers, and oil-fed slaves of the
I paid them the bribes they wanted, and Satan may settle my
114 SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL.
It's not that I care for the money, or expect a dog to be clean,
If I were lord of the ryots, they'd starve ere I grew lean;
But I'd sooner be robbed by a tall man who showed me a yard
Than be fleeced by a sneaking Baboo, with a belted knave at
There goes my lord the Feringhee, who talks so civil and
Till he raves like a soul in Jehannum if I don't quite under-
He begins by calling me Sahib, and ends by calling me Fool ;
He has taken my old sword from me, and tells me to set up a
Set up a school in the village ! " And my wishes are," says he,
" That you make the boys learn reg'lar, or you'll get a lesson
from me ";
Well, Ramlal the oilman spites me, and pounded my cow last
He's got three greasy young urchins ; I'll see that they take
Then comes a Settlement Hakim, to teach us to plough and to
(I sowed the cotton he gave me, but first I boiled the seed) :
He likes us humble farmers, and speaks so gracious and wise
As he asks of our manners and customs ; I tell him a parcel
" Look," says the school Feringhee, " what a silly old man
"You can't read, write, nor cypher, and your grandsons do
" They total the shopman's figures, and reckon the tenaqt's
" And read good books about London and the world before
you were born."
SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL. 115
Well, I may be old and foolish, for I've seventy years well told,
And the Franks have ruled me forty, so my heart and my
hand's got cold ;
Good boys they are, my grandsons, I know, but they'll never
Such as I was at twenty-five when the sword was king of the
When I rode a Dekhani charger, with the saddle-cloth gold-
And a Persian sword, and twelve foot spear, and a pistol at
my waist :
My son ! He keeps a pony, and I grin to see him astride,
Jogging away to the market, swaying from side to side.
My father was an Afghan, and came from Kandahar :
He rode with Nawab Amir Khan in the old Maratha war :
From the Dekhan to the Himalay, five hundred of one clan,
They asked no leave of prince or chief as they swept thro'
My mother was a Brahminee, but she clave to my father well ;
She was saved from the sack of Juleysur, when a thousand
Hindus fell ;
Her kinsmen died in the sally ; so she followed where he went.
And lived like a bold Pathani in the shade of a rider's tent.
It's many a year gone by now ; and yet I often dream
Of a long dark march to the Jumna, of splashing across the
Of the waning moon on the water, and the spears in the dim
As I rode in front of my mother, and wondered at all the sight.
Then, the streak of the pearly dawn — the flash of a sentinel's
The gallop and glint of horsemen who wheeled in the level
The shots in the clear still morning, the white smoke's
eddying wreath ;
Is this the same land that I live in, the dull dank air that I
116 SIR ALFRED COMYN LYALL.
But the British chased Amir Khan, and the roving times must
My father got this village, and he sowed his crops in peace;
And I, so young and hot of blood, I had no land or wife,
So I took to the hills of Malwa, and the free Pindaree life.
Praise to the name Almighty! there is no God but one!
Mahomed is his prophet, and his will shall ever be done ;
Ye shall take no use for your money, nor your faith for a
ransom sell ;
Ye shall make no terms with the infidel, but smite his soul
Tell me, ye men of Islam, who are rotting in shameful ease,
Who wrangle before the Feringhee for a poor man's last
Are ye better than were your fathers, who plundered with
And who fleeced the greedy traders, as the traders now fleece
Yes, and here's one of them coming, my father gave him a bill;
I have paid the man twice over, and here I'm paying him still ;
He shows me a long stamp-paper, and must have my land,
If I were twenty years younger he'd get six feet by three.
And if I were forty years younger, with my life before me to
I wouldn't be lectured by Kafirs, or bullied by fat Hindoos ;
But I'd go to some far-ofif country where Musalmans still
Or take to the jungle, like Cheetoo, and die in the tiger's den.
A Lay of Lachen.
The purple shadows upward crept
On Sikkim's mountains blue,
The snows their solemn vigil kept
Those stately watchers true.
The frosted peaks of Chola gleamed.
Broken and bare and bold,
On the glittering crest of Kinchin streamed
The sun-light clear and cold.
The fleeting clouds brief shadows flung
On mighty Junnoo's brow, or hung
On Pindim's forehead near;
And Donkia's beetling bastions frowned
A silent warning far around :
No foot may venture here.
The light air bore the sullen roar
Of Rungit rushing by ;
And Bengal's Lord in thought was deep
As he gazed across the mountains steep
And he spake his counsel high : —
'* No travellers come from far Tibet,
From the mystic land no tidings yet
For many a month are sent ;
No more the tinkling bells ring clear ;
On Lingtu's heights, by Bedden's mere;
On Jelep's path no step resounds
No smoke at even upward bounds
From weary trader's tent.
118 COLMAN MACAULAY.
Do thou, Macaulay, ready make,
To Sikkim's Chief my greeting take
And see his father's solemn pact
Is true fulfilled in word and act.
And hie thee to the frontier far.
Journey towards the Northern Star,
Speak fair the Lord of Kambajong
And seek his friendship new :
The path is steep, the road is long,
But the purpose high and true.
Say that you cross the snow drifts sad
But to seek the grasp of friendship's hand,
We wish but the welfare of the land
To make both peoples glad."
Macaulay took his Chief's commands,
And, for that the city was long and steep.
And the ice was thick and the snow was deep.
And the wind that blows across the sands
Of Tartary is biting keen.
He called companions three
To go with him across the sheen
Of the snow fields wild and free.
First genial Evans — wisest he
Of all wise lawyers, and his place
At Bar and Board is ever high, —
Sage in council, for a space
Fled from the wiles of Dorson's race
And Rent Bill papers dry.
To breathe the air of Sikkim free,
To wander by her purling rills
And seek the beauty of her hills
The blueness of her sky.
And Paul who Sikkim loves so well
That still the native chieftains tell,
With kindly smile and grasp of hand,
That of the Sahib log who cross
COLMAN MACAULAY. 119
The Rungit's silver fall,
None know the story of their land,
None can its meaning understand,
As does that Sahib tall.
And cheery Gordon, blithe and gay,
Sang as they toiled along the way
To Tibet's frontier far;
That soldier minstrel whose guitar
By Lachen's stream or Lushai hill
Has often cheered the camp, and still
Is heard in Cooch Behar.
And in the vales of Sikkim lone,
As gay he bought her brooch or zone.
Did many a maiden fair
Sigh, as she brushed a tear away,
" He will not buy what eke he may ;
"He buys all things throughout the land.
" Oh, would he only buy my hand,
" That soldier debonnair ! "
And Sarat Chandra, hardy son
Of soft Bengal, whose wondrous store
Of Buddhist and Tibetan lore
A place in fame's bright page has won,
Friend of the Tashu Lama's line,
Whose eyes have seen the gleaming shrine
Of holy Lhassa, came to show
The wonders of the land of snow.
They journeyed over steep Tendong,
And through the vale of Teesta fair,
By Shilling's slopes and Yeung's Mendong,
And Kubbi's smiling pastures rare
And Ryott's roaring falls.
To where, high perched on Mafi's breast
With banners gay and brazen crest,
Shone Sikkimputti's halls.
120 COLMAN MACAULAY.
Right royal welcome Sikkim gave,
With high carouse and banquets brave,
And many a pledge of right good-will,
And many a promise new
His compact ever to fulfil
And prove his fealty true :
And to the Lord of Kambajong
Swift messengers he sent :
" Lo, o'er the hills to Giagong,
" By Lachen's vale and Phalkmg's snows,
" From great Bengal an envoy goes,
" To greet thee in his tent."
And leaving Sikkim's halls, the four
O'er Mafi's hill, by Ringun's rill
'Neath stately Gnarim's summit hoar,
By Namga's shades and Chakoong's glades.
And rapid Teesta's rocky shore
And Choongtam's marshes low.
And fairy Lachen's forests green,
And boiling Zemu's silver sheen,
And cherished still of Hooker's name,
Travelled till they the torrent crossed
At Tullum Samdong hard in frost
And Tungu deep in snow.
The moon to nearly full had grown
Ere they the frontier cold and lone
Did reach, where wind swept Giagong
Near twice six thousand cubits sheer,
O'er India's plains and peoples' throng
Lies white and chill and drear
'Twixt Kinchinjow and Chomiom.
No man or beast may make his home
That barren snow-field near.
COLMAN MACAULAY. 121
The day was waning, and the crest
Of Chomiomo paler grew,
As sank the sun into the west
And ever lengthening shadows threw
The giants hoar between.
The north wind sharp and sharper blew,
The frost was piercing keen ;
Night followed day, but still no sound
Was heard the silent snow drift round
Of coming foot-steps, and no light
Of lantern or of torch did peer
Across the waste of gleaming white
To say that help was near.
No light had they, nor drink, nor meat
Nor could they forward go or back;
The drifts were deep around the track.
The snow was thick around the feet;
And night like a funeral pall lay black
On a snow winding sheet.
The moon rose slow, and pale, and sad
O'er the royal crest of Kinchinjow,
And Chomiomo's peak was clad
In the light that bathed his icy brow;
And a shimmering moonbeam sad caressed
Her white still face and summit proud
As they laid their weary limbs to rest
On her silent spreading shroud.
At length that awful night was past,
No more they shuddered 'neath the blast;
The morning smiled across the wild,
And the tentsmen followed fast.
Down Kongralamo's snowy waste
The Yaks with stately movement paced.
And five score swordsmen's weapons glanced
As Kamba's chieftain grave advanced
The mystic chorion past.
122 COLMAN MACAULAY.
And in Macaulay's tent that day,
In high durbar and bright array,
With welcome glad and presents fair,
Was Bengal's greeting told.
And Kamba's Lord did oft declare
That Tibet's people fain would dare'
The dangers of the road, to see
Victoria's Empire, rich and rare,
Of mighty Tara regent she.
And with her happy people free
Would friendly converse hold.
Next day with many a greeting kind
And many a pledge of friendship true
They parted; and the wondrous blue
Of Tibet's sky was left behind.
And at the Yule-tide far away,
As sweet young faces wondering gaze,
When downward fall the ashes grey
And upward leaps the yellow blaze.
Those comrades four may tell the tale
Of how they trod fair Lachen's vale,
So lovely and so long.
And how they braved the withering gale
And lay beneath the snowpeaks pale
At lonely Giagong.
THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD
The Successful Competitor— 1863.
Oh ! for the palmy days, the days of old !
When Writers revelled in barbaric gold:
When each auspicious smile secured a gem
From Merchant's store or Raja's diadem ;
When 'neath the pankha frill the Court reclined,
When Amlah wrote and Judges only signed;
Or lordlier still, beneath a virgin space
Inscribed their names and hied them to the chase !
Chained to the desk, the worn Civilian now
Clears his parched throat and wipes his weary brow;
Bound by his oath at every boor's behest
To hear, examine, sift, record, attest.
Recite the whole in dialect uncouth.
And dive in wells of perjury for truth !
Toil as he may, his guerdon is the same —
The scantest praise, the largest meed of blame.
Acquit? And brave the Superintendent's curse?
Convict? To see a dubious Judge reverse?
Commit? An Aryan jury will ignore;
For does not Kali gloat on human gore?
What tho' Assessors fail to find a flaw,
And trust the Judge alike for facts and law;
Tho' link in link of evidence appear —
Proof piled on proof make clearer and more clear
The prisoner's guilt — the bland High Court shines out
More skilled than Eldon in the art of doubt;
And as the German limner sought to find
Within the hidden chambers of his mind
124 THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD.
A Camel — so the Court expects to trace
In past experience every present case ;
'Twixt right and wrong an even balance keeps,
The prisoner is released — and Justice weeps.
(Ye Powers! I trust the freedom of my pen
Is covered by Exceptions One to Ten).
Who shall suffice by instinct or by tact
To thread the mazes of the Squatter's Act,
Enforcing mushroom rights with jealous care,
Yet guarding pauper landlords from despair?
Neglect " demand," and overlook " supply,"
Gaze on pure equity with heaven-lit eye.
And without line or plummet, rule or square.
Evolve the only rent precisely " fair."
Who shall suffice his anger to restrain
When daily, hourly, called on to explain :
" Explain why this was entered, that omitted,
" Why A was flogged, and B and C acquitted.
" Since no efficient officer will fail
" In close attention to minute detail,
" Note whence this shameful error of three pai,
" And why Ram Chandra did not dot an ' i ' ;
"Whether he met with punishment condign,
"And, if you fined him, when he paid the fine.
"If not, why not? Write, in three days at most,
" (This first acknowledged by return of post)
" Whether you think the principle should be
" Applied to all who fail to cross a * t.'
"A figured statement carefully prepare
" To show each prisoner's weight and daily fare ;
" Kiss the Jail Code, and certify and swear."
'Tis not enough in this insatiate age
That pleas and argument our cares engage;
'Tis not enough the solid hours to waste
Among conflicting precedents and paste ;
'Tis not enough to watch the turning scale
And check each seer of gunny in the Jail;
THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD. 125
To penetrate the city's slums and sinks ;
Concocting bye-laws subtler than the stinks ;
O'er emigrants an angel-guard to keep,
Harangue them on the dangers of the deep,
Or temper gilded visions of Cachar,
By painting jails and jungles as they are ;
(Alas ! I watch the vanishing Rupee
Worth but one-third the rice it used to be,
And wish that Wood had been as frank with me !)
'Tis not enough — but how shall I portray
The legion labours of a single day?
Is it for this that Granta bade me seek
To mould Ben Jonson in Iambic Greek,
Condense my prose, like Tacitus the terse.
And rival Ovid's elegance in verse?
Cull roots with Donaldson, weigh words with Trench;
Read, write and talk Italian, German, French;
P.epair to town in pestilent July,
When dogs were rabid, and the Thames half dry,
Abjuring bat and racket, oar and cue,
To spend three weeks disgorging all I knew?
Alas ! my Muse, it boots not to complain ;
Who shall restore a service on the wane?
No longer wooed by fame, or power, or pay,
Isis and Granta proudly turn away.
Ho! Tinkers, come, and Tailors, share the feast!
I bid you welcome to the gorgeous East!
My die is cast. I can but vent my spleen.
And yield me victim to my fate — Routine.
I cannot exactly say how it arises —
I am always the victim of startling surprises;
And now I've just suffered a terrible shock!
I'm asked out to dinner at twenty o'clock !
126 THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD.
I'm an elderly man, of conservative turn,
Content to remember, not eager to learn;
I like institutions as firm as a rock;
What ails her to talk about twenty o'clock?
We prate about progress ; it flatters our pride ;
Yet we are but the playthings of cycle and tide ;
We only return, if the truth be admitted.
To walk in the ways that our grandfathers quitted.
When clocks were invented, they made them to
From one up to twenty-four hours at a time ;
And cuckoos, who cuckoo two dozen at a go
Still linger, I hear, in the Canton of Vaud.
A truce to lamenting! It's vain to repine;
The world will not alter its notions for mine ;
So listen a little, and let me take stock
Of things atavistic like twenty o'clock.
I hear Sarah Battle inviting the throng
Short whist to abandon in favour of long ;
While Handel in smiles from a corner in heaven
Sees Sullivan's score on a stave of eleven.
Ere long shall the glory of Oscar be past
With pseudo-aesthetics too sickly to last;
And artists like those of a healthier age
Paint lilies and roses for sun-flower and sage.
Nor less will our sportsmen, if worthy the name,
Vote battues and beaters unmanly and tame ;
And a flask and slow matches for cartridge and
Will find us a pheasant for twenty o'clock.
The dinner I'm asked to, I'm able to state,
Will be plainer and better than dinners of late ;
And ale and metheglin, not Chablis or Hock,
Will wash down our sirloin at twenty o'clock.
THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD. 127
It's striking nineteen ! I must send for my man.
And hasten my dressing, and hail a sedan;
I'm off ! at the door of my hostess to knock
At exactly five minutes to twenty o'clock.
Promotion by Merit.
Where kin or friendship gives a lien
Surpassing merit is detected ;
Which, teste Darvv^in, comes to mean
Extinction of the unselected.
On a Station in Lower Bengal.
Our church as at present it stands
Has no congregation, nor steeple;
The lands are all low-lying lands
And the people are low lying people.
The Successful Competitor- 1873<
Oh palmy days of old ! Oh glorious past !
Long years have circled since I sang thee last;
Long years of exile on an alien soil,
Where weeks of fever temper months of toil ;
And still I mourn the land, to woes a prey,
Where tape accumulates, and men decay.
I mourn the rule the Magistrate of yore,
A fostering despot o'er his people bore;
He reigned supreme within his little State,
His smile shed honour, and his frown was fate.
Prompt with the rifle, niggard of the pen,
By manly deeds he won the hearts of men ;
His watchful eye each rival chieftain viewed,
And oftener calmed than curbed the rising feud.
He knew the intense devotion that reveres
Each usage hallowed by a thousand years ;
128 THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD.
Nor sought to substitute with ruthless hand
The aHen systems o£ a distant land.
Friend of the people, in their midst he moved,
To all familiar and by all beloved;
And those who gathered prattling where he came,
Grey-headed now, still gossip of his name.
:): ^ H: 4: 4:
For the good Magistrate, our Rulers say,
Decides all night, investigates all day;
The crack Collector, man of equal might,
Reports all day, and corresponds all night.
Oh, could I raise my fascinated eyes
From Salt, Stamps, Cesses, Income-Tax, Excise,
Or quit the bench, and loose my courser's rein.
To scour observant o'er the teeming plain.
Could I, with Janus, boast a double face
Incongruous scenes alternately to grace,
To twin tribunals twin delights afford.
Please the High Court, and gratify the Board —
Then all were well ; and I might touch the goal,
A square, round, man within a round, square, hole.
THREE HUNTING SONGS.
Over the valley, over the level,
Through the wide jungle we'll ride like the devil!
Hark ! for'ard a boar ! Away we go,
Sit down and ride straight. Tally-ho! Tally-ho!
He's a true-bred one, none of your jinking.
Straight across country, no time for thinking.
The nullah in front yawns deep as hell,
But the boar's gone through — we must go as well.
The ditches and banks are wide and steep.
The earth is rotten, the water deep;
The boldest horseman holds his breath,
But he must cross it to see the death.
Over we go, the game's nearly done.
The field is gaining, the race is won ;
An arm upraised, then a dash, a cheer
And the boar has felt the deadly spear.
See how he flashes his fiery eye
Ready to charge, to cut and die ;
A boar that will charge like the light brigade
Is the bravest brute that e'er was made.
Swiftly he rushes panting and blowing,
Swifter the life-blood torrents are flowing.
Game to the last with defiant eye
In silent courage he falls to die.
Gentlemen, I won't detain you a minute,
I hope every glass has got something in it ;
Come fill them up with a bumper more,
Are your glasses charged? Mr. Vice, the Boar!
Over the valley and over the level
Through the v^^ide jungle we'll ride like the devil.
There's a nullah in front and a boar as well ;
Sit down in your saddles and ride like hell.
Pledge me woman's lovely face,
Beaming eye and bosom fair —
Every soft and winning grace,
Sweetly blended sparkles there.
Is there one whose sordid soul
Beauty's form hath ne'er adored?
From his cold lip dash the bowl,
Spurn him from the festal board.
Pledge me next the glorious chase,
When the mighty boar's ahead.
He, the noblest of the race.
In the mountain jungle bred
Swifter than the slender deer
Bounding over Deccan's plain,
Who can stay his proud career.
Who can hope his tusks to gain?
Pledge me those who oft have won
Tusked trophies from the foe.
And in many a famous run.
Many a gallant hog laid low.
Who, on Peeplah's steepy height,
And on Gunga's tangled shore,
Oft again will dare the fight
With the furious jungle boar.
Fill the goblet to the brim,
Fill with me and drink to him
Who the mountain sport pursues.
Speed the boar where'er he choose ;
Hurrah ! Hurrah ! one bumper more,
A bumper to the grim grey boar!
Hark, the beater's shout on high!
Hark, the hunter's shrill reply !
Echo leaps from hill to hill.
There the chase is challenge still !
Hurrah! Hurrah! one bumper more.
A bumper to the sturdy boar !
Ride for now the sounder breaks,
Ride where'er the grey boar takes.
Struggle through the desperate chase,
Reckless death itself to face;
Hurrah! Hurrah! one bumper more,
A bumper to the fearless boar!
See, the jungle verge is won.
See, the grey boar dashing on!
Bold and brave ones now are nis"h.
See him stagger, charge and die;
Hurrah! Hurrah! one bumper more,
A bumper to the fallen boar!
A Note on "Starboard Watch, Ahoy!"
James Silk Buckingham (1786-1855), whose song is re-
produced on page 43, was one of the pioneers of Anglo-
Indian journalism. He came to India in 1815 ; and three years
later he started the Calcutta Journal. His attacks on Govern-
ment resulted in his deportation in 1823. He became
Member of Parliament for Sheffield (1832-37), and successfully
conducted a case against the East India Company, compelling
the grant of a pension of £200 as compensation for his depor-
tation and the loss of his journal. He began life as a sailor;
and when serving on the West Indian route, he had the follow-
ing curious experience related in his autobiography from
which originated his popular song:
" I felt it my duty to remain on deck all night, keeping
three watches in succession instead of one, and that too after
a most fatiguing day in getting the ship fairly out of port.
My fatigue was such as to reduce me almost to a state of
insensibility ; though, when the morning broke upon us, and
I heard the welcome sound of " Starboard watch, ahoy !" —
the summons for relief from the duty of the deck — I seemed
to feel a thrill of delight which gave me new life, though for
a few moments only. And here I must record a singular
psychological fact, unique in my own experience, though
since appeari \g to me, from what I have seen in others, to
partake of the nature of a short mesmeric trance.
The log slate was brought to me by the boy entrusted
with this dut /, to enter the course and distance steered, and
the usual re: narks of the watch for subsequent entry into
the regular log book of the ship. I was then seated in my
own berth, intending to turn in and get some rest : and I
sat with my pea-jacket still on, and wet to the skin from the
constant squalls of wind and rain during the night. I made
the proper entries with the pencil and fell asleep seated on
the chest in my berth, with the slate in my hand : and four
hours afterwards, when it was my turn to be on deck, I was
found in that position, sleeping almost as heavily as death.
Being roused by constant shaking, I changed my wet clothes
and went on deck to resume my duty.
It is customary at sea for the log slate to be handed to the
officer who has charge of the log book to transfer the entries
from the one to the other; after which the slate has to be
cleaned and hung up in its usual place under the companion
hatchway for the entries of the ensuing watch. When the
second officer had made his entries therefore, he cleaned that
side of the slate, but on turning to the other, he found some
verses there, which he knew to be in my handwriting, and
he brought the slate to me, to know whether this might be
cleaned ofif also. I was perfectly amazed at what I saw ; the
writing was certainly mine : and the words forming the
heading of the verses, " Starboard watch, ahoy !" I well
remembered as having caused me a thrill of inexpressible
delight ; but of the lines that followed, I had not the most
distant recollection. They had emanated, it was clear, from
my brain, and expressed no doubt the genuine feelings of the
moment : but I was as utterly unconscious of their being
written by me, as a clairvoyant in a mesmeric trance is of
what has been said and uttered during its existence, after
he has been awakened from it. The lines, however, were
copied by me from the slate, on paper, and when shown,
after our return to England, to Mr. Dale, a music-seller in
the Poultry, he thought they would become popular as a sea-
song if set to music. He accordingly engaged Mr. Charles
Horn, then a rising young composer, to execute this task.
It was published by Mr. Dale, — had a good run, — was sung
at several places of public entertainment, — and from a
printed copy of the words and music now in my possession,
I am able to present the following version of this
unconsciously written effusion.
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